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University of California Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

California-Russian Emigre" Series 

Alexander Albov 




A Dictated Memoir 

transcribed by 
Professor Richard A. Pierce 

Copyright (c) 1986 by the Regents of the University of California 


The Russian-Americans, although numerically a small proportion of the 
population, have for long been a conspicuous and picturesque element in the 
cosmopolitan make-up of the San Francisco Bay Area. Some came here prior to 
the Russian Revolution, but the majority were refugees from the Revolution of 
1917 who came to California through Siberia and the Orient. Recognizing the 
historical value of preserving the reminiscences of these Russian refugees, in 
the spring of 1958 Dr. Richard A. Pierce, author of Russian Central Asia, 1867- 
1917. (U.C. Press, Spring 1960) then a research historian at the University 
working on the history of the Communist Party in Central Asia, made the following 
proposal to Professor Charles Jelavich, chairman of the Center for Slavic Studies: 

I would like to start on the Berkeley campus, under the 
auspices of the Center for Slavic Studies, an oral 
history project to collect and preserve the recollections 
of members of the Russian colony of the Bay Region. We 
have in this area the second largest community of Russian 
refugees in the U.S., some 30,000 in San Francisco alone. 
These represent an invaluable and up to now almost entirely 
veglected source of historical information concerning life 
in Russia before 1917, the February and October Revolutions, 
the Civil War of 1918-1921, the Allied intervention in 
Siberia, the Soviet period; of the exile communities of 
Harbin, Shanghai, Prague, Paris, San Francisco, etc.; and 
of the phases in the integration of this minority into 
American life. 

The proposed series of tape-recorded interviews, as a part of the Regional 
Oral History Office of the University of California Library, was begun in 
September 1958 under the direction of Professor Jelavich and with the assistance 
of Professor Nicholas V. Riasanovsky of the Department of History. To date, the 
interviews listed below have been completed in several series. Each interview 
lasted a number of sessions, which were transcribed and, if necessary, translated. 
Each was edited by the interviewer and the interviewee, and then typed and bound. 
An interview by Professor R. A. Pierce with the late Professor Gleb Struve, still 
being edited, will constitute a fifth series. 

Funding for the California Russian Emigre' Series has come from several 
sources. First supported by the General Library, it was in the second and third 
series supported by the Center for Slavic and Near Eastern Studies. The fourth 
series, begun in 1979, received funding from the L. J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs 

In addition to the completed oral histories, other Russian emigre' materials 
have been acquired as a result of the interviewing program. 


An interview begun with Professor Nicholas T. Mlrov was expanded by 
Professor Mirov and published as The Road I Came, The Memoirs of a Russian- 
American Forester (The Limestone Press, Kingston, Ontario, 1978). 

Several manuscripts were donated to Professor Pierce by emigre's who had 
already written or dictated their memoirs. These include: 

Lialia Andreevna Sharov, Life in Siberia and Manchuria. 1898-1922, 296 pages. 
Completed in Los Angeles, California, ca. 1960. 

Professor Ivan Stenbock-Fermor, Memoirs of Life in Old Russia, World War 
I, Revolution, and in Emigration, 1112 pages. Completed in Palo Alto, 
California, 1976. 

Professor Alex Albov, Recollections of Pre-Revolutionary Russia, the Russian 
Revolution and Civil War, the Balkans in the 1930* s and Service in the Vlasov 
Army in World War II. 550 pages. Dictated on tape, transcribed by Professor 

These manuscripts will be made a part of the Russian emigre" collection of The 
Bancroft Library. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established in 1954 to tape record 
autobiographical interviews with persons who have contributed to the development 
of the West. The Office is under the administrative supervision of Professor 
James D. Hart, the director of The Bancroft Library. 

Willa K. Baum, Head 
Regional Oral History Office 

15 April 1986 

Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 94709 


Chapter 1 Scenario I 

Many years ago, in the late 1930' s, I saw a British film entitled 
"Cavalcade". It concerned the life of an English family at the end of the 
Victorian era, and ended after World War I when all members of the family 
gathered together, safe and sound, despite the calamity of the war. 

I would like to narrate here the story of my life. I do this because 
I believe that I am obligated, for my son and probably for his family and 
descendants, to leave a record of what happened to my family and me during 
the time of the most unheard of upheaval in the history of humanity. And 
I was the witness of many of these events and even a participant in some of 
them. The ideal method of transmitting information would be direct from 
thought into somebody's comprehension, but we cannot do that yet. Therefore 
we have to use language to transmit that information, and this is already a 
limiting factor, because while thought passes almost instantaneously, it 
takes time to organize and put your thoughts into language symbols which will 
approximate the message you wish to convey. Of course if I tried to write my 
story it would be a second, more formidable limitation, because it would have 
to go from thought to language to writing, slowing down, at each stage of the 
process, with inevitable loss of meaning and spontaneity. Therefore I am 
narrating this, the story of my life, orally, with the aid of a tape recorder, 
a device undreamed of during most of that time. 

I remember myself probably at the age of three. Strangely enough my 
first memories are connected with music. My father, in addition to his career 
as a judge of a Russian district court, was an accomplished pianist, and he 
played what to my ears were the most magnificent things. His repertoir was 
broad; predominance was given to Chopin, because we lived in Poland and Chopin 
was a Pole, but he also liked the works of Beethoven, of Liszt, with the most 


demanding piano pieces ever written, St. Saens, and many others. 

We had a grand piano I believe it was a Steinway in what we in the 
United States call a living room, which traditionally was called a ballroom, 
or guest room, in Russian, gostinnaia. It was a large room and that grand 
piano had a prominent place in it. My father liked to play in the evening, 
at dusk, or even in darkness, and I remember running through that huge room 
and crawling under the piano, sitting near the pedals that he pressed, com 
pletely encompassed by the wonderful sounds that were coming from above. I 
believe this exposure to the musical pieces that my father played left a 
permanent impression upon me, for I always liked music, and whenever I hear 
certain things that my father used to play it brings back memories of the 
wonderful days of my early childhood. 

My father Pavel Alekseevich Alrfov, was a judge of the Russian Imperial 
court in Lomzha, a town in that portion of in present day Poland which was 
then a part of the Russian empire. The administrative apparatus was Russian, 
and all the personnel of the courts were Russians. However, close contacts 
with the Poles made a permanent impression upon me, and I am happy to say that 
I, probably like other members of my family, accepted part of the Polish 
culture, which is somewhat different from Russian. We liked the Poles, and my 
father on many occasions was chagrined to think that the Polish people, 
particularly the highly educated intellectual class, were not given full 
opportunity to demonstrate their talents or occupy some positions in the 
Russian government. We had wonderful relations with Polish friends; my 
father frequently went hunting with some Polish nobility to their estates and 
he liked their company as they liked his. He told me some interesting stories 
about their traditions. For instance he told me that after a sumptuous dinner 


they would serve a very old, probably a hundred years old, drink, made of 
honey, medoc, which was kept for special occasions, and which had a very 
unusual effect. While sitting at the table the person drinking it didn't 
feel even the slightest intoxication. However, when the moment came to get 
up it was hard; the legs could barely move. 

The hunting parties in which my father participated, were also one of 
the earlier impressions of my childhood. I remember that when my father was 
preparing cartridges for his shotgun, a beautiful Belgian gun, he selected the 
shot for different kinds of game; they were numbered, no. 3 for pheasants, 
no. 4 for wild hare, and the heaviest for wild boars. He had a special 
little machine for this, and I watched with fascination as he measured the 
black powder, then put it inside the cartridge and pressed it into place. 

Lomzha, by present standards, was a small town, however, it was an 
important center in the Polish part of Russia. It had a civilian governor, 
and a vice governor, and since it was close to the Prussian border there was 
a large military garrison located there. There were the Olenets and 
Belozersk infantry regiments, and the 6th Volyn Uhlan cavalry regiment. The 
commanding officers of all these regiments as well as many other officers were 
of German descent. Some were descended from the German nobility of the Baltic 
lands acquired by Peter the Great, the ancestors of others had been invited to 
come to Russia to train Russians in the arts of arms. Quite a few of them had 
fallen in love with Russia and remained there, serving Russia loyally through 
the rest of their lives and their families had followed in this tradition. 
Therefore at the outbreak of World War I there were many high ranking officers 
and both field and company grade officers in the Russian army who bore German 
names, while the branches of those families which remained in Germany were in 

the German arm forces, so that in many cases ttft during WW I distant cousins 


were fighting each other on both sides of the front line. The commanding 
officers of the three regiments that were stationed in Lomzha were all German, 
Colonel Kube commanded the uhlan regiment, colonels Schneider and given von 
Greifenburst the infantry regiments, also of German descent, and the chief 
of gendarmerie in Lomzha was - - - - von Manteuffel. 

We knew all these people because in my father's position they were 
frequent visitors to our home, to parties, etc. The vice governor was Baron 
Korb, and a dear friend of my father's, a judge, Baron Rode, and my best friend 
in school years was Baron von Fitlfingof-Shel^. My family consisted of my 
mother's father, my paternal grandmother, my two cousins, Nicholas and 
Constantine^ Ulozovskii and my sister Tatiana, or Tania. 

Our two cousins lived with us because their parents, my mother's 
brother and his wife, were killed in an accident when the horses of the 
carriage in which they were driving went wild and overturned the carriage. 
At the time their two sons were very young, something like 2 or 3 years of 
age, so my father decided to take care of the two boys. They became like 
real brothers to my sister and me, and lived with us through all the calamities 
of World War I and the Revolution. 

We didn't have our own house in Lomzha. Whatever estates there had been 
were reduced very much; they were in the Chernigov area on mother's side and 
also near Warsaw where some distant relatives lived. 

So we had an apartment, a large one, with enough room for everybody. It 
was a quiet and serene life for us children and our parents. There were separate 
rooms for my sister and I, for our parents, for our cousins and for our grand 
mother. Then there was the most sacrosanct room in the house, father's 
study, where he worked on his cases for the court. 


During my childhood we had three servants who lived in the house. One, 
the cook, a wonderful Polish woman, could have been a credit to any present 
day restaurant; her cooking was perfect. On several occasions after some 
dinner parties and lunches, as was customary at that time, the pleased guests 
asked her to come out of the kitchen and gave her a silver ruble as a token of 
their appreciation for her gastronomic achievement. There were also two 
chambermaids who took care of the household and laundry. Then there was a 
man who came in every day to look after that the stoves, those wonderful stoves 
whose outsides were colored with ceramic tiles, and to see that there was ample 
water on hand. At that time there was no running water in our house, so 
bath water had to be warmed and water for cooking and for everything else had 
to be brought from outside somewhere and stored in tanks. Also periodically 
there were one or two men who were experts at polishing the parquet floor, and 
I looked with fascination how after putting wax on the floor they were almost 
dancing, sliding about on the big brushes which were attached to their shoes, 
as they vigorously polished the floor. 

The whole atmosphere was extremely quiet and serene; as children of tender 
age, we were left very much under the care of grandmother and mother. Father 
was busy in the court, where he was presiding judge. It shows what kind of 
life was there; practically every day an employee of the court would bring 
him lots of dossiers of cases which he studied to make his notes in pre 
paration for the trials. 

Another employee used to bring father his salary. It was payable on the 
20th of the month, so the government employees were called "men of the 20th 
day". The salary was brought to my father by an employee, usually in gold 
and silver coins, and invariably my father asked the employee to go back and 
exchange the coins for paper money because he didn't like carrying coins with 


him; he said it was easy to lose. Of course nobody then thought of saving 
gold as such. 

As I said before there were plenty of rooms in our house and in addition 
to the ballroom, or guestroom as it was called the gostinnaia we had a very 
large, well appointed dining room; all the furniture was heavy oak including 

a big table, capable of seating eight people at one time. 

wfvt& .-1 

-^-HeJLL, speaking of that era it is good to return back to my family lineage 

or ancestry. For that purpose you have to look at the picture of a family 
reunion which was somehow saved during all the wars and revolutions that I 
went through. It was taken around 1908 or 1909 in Karlsbad, one of the 
small resort towns on the wonderful beaches of Riga Bay, on the Baltic Sea. 
On your left you in first row, going from left to right see a girl with a big 
ribbon tied in her long hair; this is my cousin Elena. Her father, Ivan 
Mikhailovskii standing in the back row, is in uniform, but it was not a 
military uniform. In Russia at that time all civilian employees of the 
government usually wore uniforms of one kind or another, so it was a civilian 
uniform. He was a judge, like my father, but at Lublin, another provincial 
government center. Next to my cousin Elena stands my maternal grandmother 
Anna Golovkov-Ulozovskii. There was a mystery about her past, a mystery 
which I never heard discussed and talked about in the family until much 
later, only a few years ago when I visited my cousin in France, then he told 
me her background. She was actually bom Countess Atotskii, of a family of 
Polish nobility. A young Russian cavalry officer, Golovkov-Ulozovskii, was 
stationed on the Atotskii estate and he fell in love with her and she with 
him; they eloped and he married her. For a daughter of the Polish nobility 
it was a terrible thing, particularly since it was at the time of the Polish 
uprising. So at a later date the Polish patriots took revenge upon her 


husband, the father of my mother, and he was shot in the head, and lost his 
eyesight. My mother was very conscious of that and remembered her childhood 
living with a blind father; I noticed that whenever we went somewhere and 
she saw a blind beggar she would always give money generously, saying, "I feel 
sympathy toward people who have lost their sight." 

So my mother's mother was born Anna Romualdovna Atotskii. She was 
brought up in the Roman Catholic church but after marrying my granduncle 
Nicholas she was converted to Russian Orthodoxy. However she attended both 
Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and it was particularly convenient to 
visit both because our house was facing a courtyard of an old Roman Catholic 
church, probably a couple of centuries old. So she used to go sometimes to the 
early morning masses. On Sunday she would go with all of us to the Russian 
Orthodox cathedral. In her ancestry there was a French ancestry too, it was 
Comte de Rochebrune who donated something to a Musee de Goulem in Charentes. 
This sketchy information I got from my cousin, who was already close to 80 
years of age and living out the rest of his life in Nice, France. He visited 
the museum, trying to trace down the French side of his ancestry. 

On the Russian side, the Ulozovskii family was also very well known. It 
was two ruling houses of the old Ukrainian state which existed before the 

V ' 

Ukraine joined Russia. There were two families, of Golovko and Ulozovskii, 
and by joining in marriages they became Golokov-Ulozovskii. They had big 
estates in the area of Chernigov. There were two estates. There were two 
hetmans, or leaders, one was Golovko and the other Ulozovskii. After Russia 
annexed the Ukraine there was a chancellor at the court of the Emperor Paul in 
1796 by the name of Golovkin-Ulozovskii and the lineage came down through his 
son Nicholas, his son Andrei, then Nicholas who was the head of the family that 
I mentioned above. He was a cavalry officer, eloped with the Countess Atotskii, 


and they had children: Nicholas, Vladimir, Mariia, and Olga. Olga was my 
mother. Nicholas Ulozovskii was the father of Nicholas and Constantine, our 
two cousins. And Nicholas and his wife Catherine died in an accident when a 
carriage was overturned. Vladimir Ulozovskii can be seen in the picture 
sitting 3rd from the right in military uniform. He was a lieutenant colonel 
at that time, and was married to a women Anna, who sits on his left, and leaning 
toward her is their daughter Galina. Their son is just in front of this 
uniformed Vladimir Ulozovskii, brother of my mother. His son Andrei just 
to finish with his rather complex story, was in the j/hite army, in the cavalry. 
He was sick at one time and was taken to a hospital in the Caucasus. Un 
fortunately they didn't evacuate him in time and he was killed in the hospital 
by the Re ds . 

You can see me third on the left hand side; I am in a sailors uniform 
with some kind of visored cap on my hand and fancy black and white buttoned 
shoes. I am between my grandmother and my father, Pavel Alekseevich Albov, 
who sits with my mother Olga Nikolaevna. 

Next to me is my dear sister Tatiana Tania she died in Germany after 
World War II when I was already in the U.S. and was trying to bring her here. 
Then you see my mother; I still remember her in that dress. 

Behind my mother is her sister Maria Nikolaevna, married to the uniformed 
man who stands on the left hand, Mikhailovskii, and she is holding her little 
son Ivan (Vania). And on the right hand side standing are two cousins of 
mine, Nicholas (Kolia) and Constantin (Kostia) Ulozovskii, who as I explained 
lived in our family and were brothers to Tania and me. 

The only people in this picture now alive are myself and my cousin 
Nicholas, who is standing in that white tunic of a Russian gymnasium uniform, 
with a visored cap with the insignia of the gymnasium. He was a very sturdy, 


clever man, secure in himself determined in his goals, a very solid character, 
very well built physically and fit, while his brother, on the right hand 
side was completely different; he was very kind but at the same time a little 
weak; he did poorly in school; but he had some kind of attractiveness about 
him; he clowned around a lot. His fate was a tragic one; he perished some 
where in France while working in a factory after World War I and the Revolution. 

Between them in the background is our servant Christine (Kristia) who 
couldn't miss the opportunity to get in the picture. 

Out of the persons in this picture, there is still a chance that the 
little boy, Ivan, who is being held by the mother, Maria, might still be alive, 
but where I don't know. They all remained in the Soviet Union; they didn't 
manage to escape. My cousin Kolia (Nicholas Ulozovskii), after a brilliant 
career in the Russian navy during World War I, worked for a time in Tunisia, in 
Algiers, and became a French citizen. He saved the life of two French officers 
and was decorated by the French government. He served in World War II in the 
French corps of engineers, was wouZded and retired as an officer and settled 
in Nice, where I was fortunate enough to visit him twice. 

Again looking at the picture of this family reunion one can see a grey 
haired lady who stands just behind my father; she is my other grandmother, 
the mother of my father. It so happened that both grandmothers lived for a 
long time, while our grandfathers died much earlier, before Tania and I were 

My grandmother Albov, seen on the picture, was the widow of a Major 
General Aleksei Albov, my grandfather. He was initially a cavalry officer, 
and then joined the Corps of Gendarmerie and became deputy governor of Warsaw. 
Since it was the time of a series of Polish uprisings the governor and his 
deputy my grandfather lived with his family in the Warsaw fortress. Only 


after his death my grandmother, Anna lurievna Albova, moved into the city proper 
where she rented an apartment on Marshalkovska Street. We visited her place 
several times; she liked me very much; I knew she had some money set aside 
for me, but it all disappeared like smoke with the Russian Revolution. Her 
maiden name was Kondrat'ev while my father and grandfathers' name was Albov. 
My great grandfather was a priest. Beyond that I don't know, because my father 
never told me anything about that because there was no occasion; earlier I was 
too small and after the outbreak of World War I with the Revolution and civil 
war we never managed to talk about this family ancestry. I remember only 
that my father once said that he intended to take us on a trip on the Volga 

Ts.- r vi 

River to the eity-of Kostroma, from which our clan came, and were written into 


the book of nobility of Kostroma province-; my father wanted to bring me there 
and enter my name there, but none of these plans materialized. 

I know only a few things, which I learned by chance from other people. 


Prince Galitzin in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, told me that he knew some of the 
background of our family, that our name's origin was of Spanish extraction. 
He read the story of some Russian families and came across my name in a book 
which described how in the 17th century Albovs were still called Don Albov 
which in his opinion indicated that although the name was already Russified 

they retained the Don which was the equivtf of the German von or French &. 

My grandparents, Anna and Aleksei Albov, had four children son, 

Peter who died early, my father, Paul, his sister Elizabeth and his brother 


Chapter 3 Scenario I 

Father's sister, Elizabeth, Aunt Lika lived for a long time; she died 
in Berlin when I was already in the Untied States. People of today will find 
it difficult to understand the life which surrounded me in my childhood. We 
who are living in the United States today have at our disposal all of the 
modern fruits of civilization produced in the past several decades, and in 
order to comprehend what was happening at the time of my chaldhood you have to 
get into a kind of time tunnel and move back in time and in space. Poland, 
where I was born and spent my early childhood, was at that time part of the 
Russian empire. It was a completely different time, so different that when 
in my thoughts I go back into the past I feel as it I lived on a different 
planet, because nothing that we in the United States now take for granted 
existed at that time. 

Let us take, for example, electricity. We take it for granted; it is 
the source of everything; it gives me the opportunity to narrate this story. 
When I was born in Poland, in that town of Lomzha, we didn't have any 
electricity in our house. Therefore we didn't have washing machines. A 
woman came once a week or twice a month to take care of laundry and ironing. 
And there was no electric light. Instead we used lamps, except for special 
areas like the dining room, father's study, and the big ballroom, where we 
had special lamps which operated on alcohol. These ignited some kind of 
little canvas thing and it gave a very bright light, bluish, exceptionally 
bright and plgasant, very much like electricity. At the entrance to each 
room my father installed a little metal contraption with a box of matches, so 
that in the evening if there was no light in the room instead of touching 

a switch you could reach for that box, strike a match, and then light 
the kerosene lamp. 


We didn't have a telephone. There were very few in Lomzha in the bank, 
the gymnasium, the court, the military establishment, and in the narodnyi dom, 
a kind of club I remember calling somebody from there but private telephones 
were almost nonexistant, so messages were sent by servants or brought by 
couriers, as from the court. 

Today everybody takes automobiles for granted, but we didn't have an 
automobile. I first saw one in 1907; it belonged to the father of my good 
friend, Zhenia von Fity^ingof-Shel/. His father was always considered an 
extravagant man and one day he surprised the entire population of Lomzha 
by driving a red -col o rot! car which made a tremendous noise, scaring all the 
horses; it made a great sensation. However after that more motor vehicles 
appeared, first of all at the disposal of the military. 

The military were very much revered at that time; a military career 
was considered exceptionally glorious and important. The uniforms were 
incredibly bright, and of course men in uniform had a tremendous success 
with the young ladies, and everyone therefore envied them. The toys of that 
time were mostly of a martial nature, there were toy soldiers, cannon, 
artillery pieces, etc. We boys played mostly with toy soldiers tin 
soldiers. I got them in abundance as gifts at Christmas time. Father used 
to buy us gifts across the border in Prussia; at a place called lick, 
everyone in that area knew Father and he didn't need any passport. There 
were some very beautiful toys; even in modern times I haven't seen some toys 
that I used to have at that time. For instance, I beliive it was after my 

; kvM- \ 

father visited Karlsbad r in Czechoslovakia, then Austria-Hungary^ to take a cure 

for his kidneys, he stopped at Berlin and bought me a magnificent thing, it 
was a little train with a locomotive which operated from steam, and that 
steam was produced by lighting up a little container which contained 


denatured alcohol. The flame brought the water inside to the boiling point 
and it operated like a real locomotive. Of course all my friends were 
awfully envious and they used to come to me and we played with that train. 
I don't believe it lasted very long, because too many hands were training 
to use it. 

Of course girls, like my sister, had dolls. Dolls were the domain 
of the girls. 

Lacking electricity, we didn't have any modern devices. We had a 
record player, but it was a wind up mechanical kind. I must say, however, 
that we had a wonderful set of records. Father loved music and therefore 
he used to buy many records; we had original records of Chaliapin, Caruso, 
Battistini and famous Russian tenors like Smirnov, Sobinov, or the famous 
Russian soprano Nezhdanova. Then through this gramophone, as it was called, 
I was exposed to lots of music, major areas from all the operas, such as 
Traviata, Rigoletto, Faust, "|ne Troubadour (or II Trovatore, as they say 


here) ," Russian operas such as "Evgenii Onegin," "Queen of Spades," etc. It 
is an interesting thought that the only link between the past and the present 
is probably the sounds of music, because they were the same then as they 
are now, so while life completely changed in everything else, and we moved 
as if from one planet to another something remained intact, that is in the 
field of art. The music that you hear now is the same wonderful music of 
Mozart, Beethoven, Chaikovsky, Chopin, and Rimskii-Korsakov. As we heard 
it then we hear it now, perhaps with a slightly different interpretation, 
but essentially the same. 

The same is true of other things. We children in Russia were exposed 
to a tremendous amount of translated literature from the western world, 
particularly American English, French, and German literature. First there 


were childrens stories, Anderson's fairy tales, and the brothers Grimm. 
There were some wonderful stories taken from the German of Max Moritz, and 
other children's stories. There was not so much children's literature in 
Russian, with the exception of heroic poems, the so-called byliny, about 
the bogatyry, but they were people's epos, and somewhat different. A 
little later we read such authors as Mark Twain; Robert Louis Stevenson, 
Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, and Rudyard Kipling; everything was translated. 
There was Jules Verne, and Fenimore Cooper,_with all his Indian stories we 
were quite familiar with the Indians Charles Dickens, Dumas and Victor Hugo. 

My sister and I learned to read and write, at an early age, at four. 
Of course we also read voraciously all the Russian literature, though 
Russian literature was mostly written more for adult minds than certain 
prose of English or American literature. Tolstoi's War and Peace, or Anna 
Karenina, or his other stories; or Dostoevsky, were more adult reading. 
These childhood stories we mostly acquired from reading translated foreign 
literature until we reached the stage where we could absorb and understand 
mature stories written by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky etc. We memorized the 
wonderful poetry of Pushkin, Lermontov, etc. As for foreign literature we 
gradually switched to Zola, or even at a later stage to Maupassant, at the 
time considered a little bit risque, although in comparison with modern 
writing it is not very risque at all. 

I hope that by now this background, the things that surrounded me at 
that time aegins to be understood. Our family was so organized, if it is a 
proper word, that the childrens world was to a certain extent separated from 


that of the grownups. For instance I never heard , quarrel fag two an ay 

parents. I am sure that there were some misunderstandings, but never before 
us. We children never heard raised voices or angry voices or ongry dialogues 


between our parents when we were present; it was always quiet, always calm; 
it gave such a feeling of security, such a wonderful feeling of well being. 
Nor did I ever hear, even when we were going through all the miseries of the 
Revolution, my father utter a word of profanity; it would have flabbergasted 
me if I had heard one issuing from his mouth. Do not think that I over- 
idoloza my parents; probably there were faults, but life was so organized 
that we children were never exposed to that, and as a result we respected our 
parents tremendously; their authority was very high and that made our life, 
Tania's and mine, very happy. We felt that both mother and father and 
grandmother, who was always with us; loved us both dearly. 

We used to go for a walk every day with mother, and I still remember 
that while walking with her I was such a little fellow I felt really secure 
when I was holding her skirt. Whenever something happened on the street, and 
I was kind of scared, I used to grab her skirt. But the day came when she said 
"No, Sasha, no more of that; you are on your own, no more touching my skirt", 
and then gradually I became on my own. 

Tania and I both had our friends; we were lucky because there were lots 
of children among the friends of our parents. It was a congenial group and we 
used to go together to various places, there was always celebration of birth 
days and namesdays, particularly name days, again a kind of contrast to 
American and western style. The namesday was a day of one's patron saint, 
so St. Alexander's day was my nameday and a time of a big celebration. When 
we were children it usually resulted in hot chocolate with whipped cream 
being served to all the gathered children, and we danced and played and had 
fun. And one of the biggest events for some reason in our family was the 


celebration of the name day of my sister Tatiana. Tatiana s jaaae" day was 
on the 12th of January, or on the 25th by the modern calendar. The clergy 


were invited, to say a certain prayer, or in Russian monedeltle a service was 
held in the house. And after that there were lots of guests, both grownups 
and of course children. Everybody was invited to lunch; the grownups had 
lunch in the dining room, and we children usually gathered in the big ballroom 

where again the inevitable hot chocolate and all kinds of goodies were 

f^ iv 7 

served, while also something called a name-day 'pirog imenyi was offered to 

^^T" ~S 

everybody. There were always lots of gifts; I remember when my mother in despair 
said after the day was over said that in addition to the dolls and all the 
things that people brought for Tania she counted 23 boxes of chocolates. 
She was working in some kind of committee that distributed such things to 
less fortunate children. 

This names day of my sister Tania was fortunate because it was the only 
winter celebration of names days, because the namesdays of my father, my 
mother, and mine all fell in the summer time when we were already in the 
country, on vacation. 

Consider again time and location. I was born in Lomzha, but my mother 
told me that actually I was born in our house in the Lomzha region in a summer 
cottage that we rented every summer. My parents spent their time there, and 
after my sister and I were bom we spent our earliest years every summer 
there. It was a beautiful place, a child's dream of existence. It was a 
rather primitive place in a little village consisting of a few houses, 3 or 
4 miles from a little town called Makhov? We travelled there from Lomzha 
quite in style, in a carriage like Wells Fargo stagecoach in the movies. 
It was a very comfortable coach; my father and mother the two of us, and 
also our cousins Nicholas and Constantine were coming to spend the summer 
time there. We couldn't all travel in one coach, so the caravan consisted of 


about 3 coaches because grandmother came too, and also we always took along one 
servant. One of the village women served as a cook; she was an excellent cook. 

The location was ideal because our house was very close to a beautiful 
forest. During childhood I learned everything about the forest, it was mixed 
forest with both pine trees and other trees oak and nut trees and various 
other trees. I learned lots about various animals, beginning with squirrels; 
we saw foxes, once or twice we saw wolves, and it was said there were even 
bears in this forest. We spent daytime with the family in the forest, taking 
with us food for picnics, some blankets to spread out under the trees, going 
around gathering wild strawberries, or toward the fall lots of mushrooms, and 
nuts, and nearby there was a beautiful winding river wide enough to have a 
boat on; father built a place to keep our boat; we had a boat for going fishing 
and I learned how to row, and father built two cabins there for dressing rooms, 
one for ladies and one for men. 

I learned to swim at an early age, at about five. Father used an 
interesting method to teach me to swim. First in relatively shallow water 
he asked me to sit down with my head submerged in the water. Then he said 
"open your eyes and look around, you will see that the water is transparent so 
that you do not need to have any fear. First you have to learn to swim under 
the water." And that is true; I learned very fast to get into the water 
and start swimming under the water, then one day he said "Now, just raise your 
head and continue moving your hands and feet and you'll be swimming," and very 
soon I discovered how to swim, and from then on I swam all the time. 

So, as you can see, we had everything; we had the forest, the river, 
boats and wonderful swimming. My father used to go hunting and after my 
cousin Nicholas got a little 22 caliber Winchester as a gift from my father 


he permitted me and even my sister to do some target shooting. 

The noon meal was usually held picnic style in the forest; early in 
the morning we went to the river for a swim, and probably a little boating, 
then came back and changed, then went to the forest for a picnic, climbing 
the trees, everything that children do in the forest, having lots of fun. 
Then toward the evening we would come back, have supper in the house on the 
veranda, and then after supper we would go for long walks with our parents. 

My father taught us lots of beautiful Russian songs^both he and my 
mother were very musical which we sang in duo and trio. 

There were also lots of sports. My father helped me to carve a javelin, 
and also we had ball games soft ball football, running a lot, and playing 
all kinds of games that have now vanished. We also played croquette. 

So these summers, close to nature, were probably the best part of that 
era, the ideal thing for children; we talked so much about that place with 
our friends that three couples of our friends, with children, started renting 
houses there from the peasants. One family, which was pretty close to us, was 
that of Mrs. Kalinovskii, the director of the school for girls, a gymnasium 
like a high school and junior college combined. Her three sons were my best 
friends. They were boys of quite different character. The senior one, Pavel, 
or Pavlik as we called him, distinguished himself by the fact that he had an 
uncontrollable fantasy, or to put it in simple terms, he lied a lot. The 
stories that he was told were always beyond possibility. The second one had 
a limp something was wrong with one of his legs and he was the leader, 
very rough and tough, always doing the unexpected. Once I saw him take a 
caterpillar into his mouth and eat half of it. I was terrified, but at the 
same time I kind of admired him for his courage. The third son Rastislav, or 
Slavik, was too little for our company. He was a very pleasant Mama's boy. 


But Roman, or Roma as we called him, was really terrible. Once in town the 
Korenovskii's governess admonished Roma when he pointed with his finger at 
the moon perhaps it was some German superstition "It always means something 
will be broken." So he immediately grabbed a crystal vase which was standing 
there and threw it to the floor and said "Yes, you are right, something got 

So during those few summers I learned how to swim, to shoot, and had lots 
of physical education. My father was in good shape and he forced me to run a 
lot. Jogging was unknown then but I think it was in Baden-Powell's book, 
translated into Russian, and my father considered it an excellent idea for us 
children. He organized our little gang into the first boy scout troop in that 
area, and he was the scout master. Among other things we learned about moving 
fast: 50 steps running, and 50 steps walking, all the time. 

Then all the names days fell in the summer time so there were great 
celebrations with fireworks, and Chinese lanterns strung around the houses 
and the yard and people coming from town to visit with us, and again that 
hot chocolate was served, and piro, and we had a grand time. 

As I said, there were quite a few celebrations Olga's day on llth of 
July, which also coincided with my parents wedding anniversary, 29th of June 
was both my fathers names day and my birthday, and then when my uncle Vladimir, 
an officer in the army, came to visit with us his was the 15th of July and 
that day was celebrated too. 

So we spent our summers there. Father used to bring us there, and 


organize everything, and then retrun to Lomzha for a short while because the 
court was still until the court year ended, and then come back and stay with 
us and then return a little bit early when the court year started. 


And then the day came when I had to go to school. We learned to read 
and write at a very early age, and shortly after that my father started to 
teach us music and piano. However, he didn't have much time and when I 
was six father provided a music teacher, a Mr. Kloss, of German descent. 
He was quite a teacher, the conductor of one of the military bands in Lomzha, 
and we had to play. It was not the present day permissive society, children 
were disciplined very strictly, the man would come with his little baton like 
an orchestra conductor, and when something wasn't going well not to his liking 
he would hit our hands with his baton, so we would try to do our best. There 
was obligatory homework, 1^/2 hours of practice for each of us and then we had 
to prepare certain exercises and play them. I was very impressed when I found 
that some of those exercises are still used in the present day in the United 
States. One of the easier ones was Ludchek, and a more difficult one was 
Hannon; to play this Hannon exercise, from a big book of exercises was quite 
a difficult task. 

With regard to my music lessons, soon after I started I discovered that 
I had almost perfect pitch, so instead of memorizing certain things I began to 
improvise my playing, I lost on technique my sister beat me there but I 
played what I liked. I probably enjoyed my music more than she, but frustrated 
my music teacher. 

After we learned to read and write, and the basics of arithmetic, father 
was too busy to teach us further, so he hired a young man to prepare me for the 
first class in gymnasium. My sister was in frail health and my mother didn't 
want to make life too strenuous for her, so it was decided that she would 
cover the schooling program by passing the tests but not actually attending the 
school. As it turned out she was probably far advanced not attending the 
classes because she worked very hard with that teacher who attended us, and 


she read a lot, from an early age, probably starting with Alcott's LITTLE 
WOMEN and later Shakespeare. I had to go to school, but I was able to skip 
the preparatory classes and go immediately into the first class, at 11 years 
of age. To get into gymnasium at that age it was necessary to pass the 
entrance examination on three subjects, Russian language, arithmetic, and 
religion. Since I was quite well prepared I found it quite simple but the 
examinations had all the awsome trimmings, there was a big table, behind which 
sat the imposing figures of 4 or 5 professors, with long beards or mustaches, 
all dressed in the uniform of the Ministry of Education. The table was covered 
with green cloth, and on it there were boxes of tickets from which I had to 
draw, to answer the questions or to solve the problem of arithmetic that was 

I hoped I was prepared, and was given a simple problem of arithmetic. 
I was very much excited I sat at a special little table prepared for examinees 
and tried to solve that problem and finally presented my paper back to them. 
Then I had to recite some poetry which I had to leam by heart to satisfy my 
knowledge of Russian. Fortunately the choices of poetry were quite well known 
to me so I recited them with eloquence and necessary exultation. For religion 
there was a very kind hearted priest. I used to go to him for confession and 
he knew my father and my family very well, so there was no fear of failing 
that. So he asked me a question about religion and I answered it completely to 
his satisfaction so he congratulated me on being excellently prepared. 

When I emerged from that sanctuary where I passed the test my father 
was waiting outside. Well he had already the written problems of arithmetic 
that were given to me someone had apparently given them to him. 

I got a passing grade, and it was announced to me that I was admitted to 
the first class of gymnasium, particularly since that involved making me a 


Chapter 5 Scenario 1 

The grandest thing for me about passing the entrance examinations was 
that I would be getting my student uniform. That was very important, first of 

ill I'e.-ause It woul.l si.v.nilv the I list t I III.' in inv III.- wIltMl I wotllil !> w.-.Mlnr 
l.MH' p. nits. 

Soon after the examination I was taken to the tailor, who took my 
measurements. I went to a few fittings but didn't see the completed work 

In'. -. ms. ' we went .ij',.iln In siimm.'i V.I.M I I .MI . 

I described how as very little children we went always to Kranka near 
tin' big forest and river. Then we went for 3 summers to the Baltic Sea. I 
mentioned that in a previous chapter as the place where the family reunion 
picture was taken. 

The summers on the Baltic Sea were quite different; it was the sea, it 
was a different mood, and everything. Riga Bay starts south of Riga and runs 

lor quite .1 while; It Is .1 In-. nil i I ti I I I. it .iinl level U'.irli, <>l wlill.- s.uid, .m.l 

then at a certain distance from the water there were rising dunes and on top 

ol them several ..immunities ol .md vllhlH, running /ll-i, ill Hi.- 

length of Riga Bay. Starting with Riga a train ran from Riga along the summer 
resorts, and between the railway line and the seashore there were these little 
towns of cottages. I still remember the names of them; we used to travel 
from one to another on the trains, which ran every half hour. Bilderinsgof , 
Edinburg (1) & Edinburg (2), Maiorlngof, Dubeln, Karlsbad, Asseph, Ahlok, 

K. 'Mime I 11 . 

It was a wonderful life there too, because we were swimming in the sea. 
ii was my first exposure to the sea; I knew already how to swim, however the 
waters were dangerous, as often happens with sandy beaches. 

The swimming places were clearly marked with buoys and so forth; there 


were cabins for people to undress in, and lots of people had their own 
individual cabins made of canvas on the beach. It was something like one 
sees in the pictures of Matisse and other French masters of the beaches at 
Bretagne, etc. 

The schedule for swimmers was regulated by hours. Early morning hours 
until 9 o'clock white flags were raised, showing that the beaches were open 
for men only, and therefore no bathing suits were required. Then after that 
there was a womens time and then a red flag was raised and men were forbidden 
to go to the beaches. 

We spent two summers in a little place called Karlsbad, where that 
picture was taken, and one in a little place closer to Riga called Edinburg. 

The swimming usually came to an end about four o'clock and after that 
the beaches were open for everybody for walking and so forth. The fishermen 
were hauling fresh fish from the sea, something like sardines, and they were 
immediately smoking that fish, and we were buying that on the beaches. It was 
a most delicious fish called strimla, and we were eating that with our supper 
still warm and freshly smoked. 

We had lots of friends there, they included the family of the principal 
(director), Silin, of the gymnasium where I went; he had 3 sons, they were 
about 7 or 8 yrs. older than I, so they were in the company of my cousins, 
Nicholas and Constantine. They were going swimming, having fun there, but 
one day tragedy struck. The oldest son, already a student at a technological 
institute something like MIT here was a good swimmer and swam far 
beyond the buoys which marked the safe area for swimming and he was drowned. 
It was such a close thing to our lives that we were absolutely upset but it 
was worst of course for his mother. The fishermen looked for his body but 
couldn't find it, and she spent all night sitting on the beach waiting and 


waiting for her son to come or to be brought back dead, and finally the next 
day they found his body. 

There was lots of seaweed, not like the big California kelp but very 
tiny, kind of black and smelling of iodine. We children were told that 
you could find amber in this seaweed, for that was the place, all along the 
Baltic Sea, where it occures. Millions of years ago there was a pine forest 
there which was overwhelmed by the rising sea and left the pitch that comes 
from the bark of the pine trees. And indeed my sister and I and other children 
used to find little pieces of amber. 

We used to go out to sea, taken in big boats by the fishermen. They 
were tremendous men. Interestingly enough the water was cool, so it would take 
courage to jump in, even in the summer time. And since it was farther north 
there were long nights in June approaching the White Nights. The sun would 
set around 11 o'clock in the evening and dusk would remain for a long while. 

Across the railroad tracks from the sea there was a forest, and a river, 
the Aa, very wide, slowly moving, but very deep, perhaps fifty fee. 

Well that is how we spent our summers on Riga Bay. And then, in 1912, 
it was decided that we should go to the Crimea. And that was wonderful. We 
went first to a place called Alupka. We travelled by train from Warsaw, 
very comfortably, in a Wagons-Lits, in two days. Early in the morning we 
were crossing that Sivash peisthmus into the Crimea peninsula and everything 
changed. The sun was shining brightly; there was no comparison with our 
northern places, and the train would go though through romantic places 
like Bakhchisarai, and Simferopol, and finally arrive at Sevastopol. 

There were still quite a few monuments concerning the Crimean War, 
fought from 1853 to 1855 and some of the fortifications. Sevastopol itself 
was under siege for 11 months. It was famous for the Charge of the Light 


Brigade. Of course we Russians were on the other side; we didn't appreciate 
at all that strange invasion by the British and French in alliance with the 
Turks. There was a beautiful panorama of the battle around Sevastopol which 
we used to go and see. 

In Sevastopol we usually stopped at the Hotel Pista. There they served 
something we never had in Poland, the Ukrainian or Malorossian borshch, which 
had all the ingredients provided by the south, particularly tomatoes, which 
were scarce in the northern regions. Usually we rested for two days in 
Sevastopol, looking at the Russian navy, anchored in the great Sevastopol 
Bay, and then we would hire a carriage and go early in the morning from 
Sevastopol to our destination Alupka. Alupka was about 10 miles west of 
Yalta. It was probably the southernmost part of the Crimea. The climate 
was divine because the southern part of the peninsula was protected on the 
north by a mountain ridge, the Yaila, a Tatar name. The inhabitants of the 
Crimea was at that time Tatars, and they had possessed the Crimea for quite a 
long time. Earlier there had been the Greeks, the Genoese, and other peoples. 

We never expected the dangers of being exposed for too long to the 
merciless sunshine, and within the first few days I burnt myself to such an 
extent that they had to call the doctor. But later on we learned how to 
handle it, and acquired beautiful tans. 

There was no sand on the beaches; they were composed of pebbles. 

The most interesting place in Alupka was the palace of Count Vorontsov- 
Dashkov, built in the style of the Spanish Alhambra, with a staircase leading 
from the main entrance, with three pair of marble lions. Two on the lower 
level were asleep, those in the middle were waking up, and those at the 
entrance were wide awake and alert. These lions were massive pieces of 
sculpture; during the Russian civil war the British managed to take away one 


of the lions, as they had one of the Caryatids in Athens. 

It was a wonderful place, there on the Black Sea. We spent all our time 
by the sea, looking for little crabs, we didn't ever eat the little shrimps, 
but there were lots of fish there. We lived in a pension, with a little 
suite with several rooms. The food was provided by the owner, with a table 
d'hote. There were about fourteen or sixteen people there, so we would 
gather together at dinner time, and breakfast was served in the rooms. 

Alupka was a quiet place, one of a number of resorts along that coast. 
We spent two summers there, going all along the coast, and up to the peak of 
the Yaila mountain range, which protected the southern part of the Crimea 
from the northern winds and made it a sub-tropical paradise. 

The third summer, of 1913, we went to Yalta. We stayed there in a 
pension, but differently organized from what we had stayed in before. It was 
in a huge park, with cottages for summer guests, scattered around a place 
called Chukular. There was a central kitchen, and lunches and dinners were 
brought by the servants to the cottages in containers. And it was delicious 
food. There was no worry about cooking at that time; when we lived in Lomzha 
my mother would give the orders to the cook for the lunch and supper; she 
would give her the money and she would go and buy the food. There was a 
kind of agreement within the family not to bother our cook while she was in 
the kitchen, so the place was taboo for everyone. 

Well that was the leisurely life we had, a peaceful time which now 
seems as if it was on another planet. 

I will try to crowd into this /_6th/ chapter everything that remains 
before I take up the big events which played such an important role in my 
life. But first of all I would like to repeat again that we lived in a time 
when there was no instant communication. For current news we depended on the 


newspapers only, My father also subscribed to a plethora of various magazines, 
for all ages. Some were for Tania and me when we were little children, some 
were for our cousins in Russia there were very well graded magazines for every 
age. Then my father subscribed to some very good magazines, popular publications 
like Niva which was bringing as a supplement through the years the complete 
works of all famous Russian authors, Leskov, Tolstoi, Dostoevsky etc. So out 
of these supplements father built a library for us. He sent these books to be 
bound with our initials and Ex^ Libris. 

We subscribed to three daily newspapers; one was NOVE VREMIA, rather 
conservative and another was RUSSKOE SLOVO. 

We were dependent on the services of many people. We had three servants, 
and outsiders came to perform certain duties: the seamstress, people looking 
after sanitary facilities, the iceman, waterman, etc. We didn't have a 
refrigerator so getting food fresh from the market was very important. 
However there was always some slippage in that, probably the cook wasn't alert 
enough, or certain foods were not clean. So something that accompanied our 
life was the tummy ache, and the medicine for that was the most hated castor 
oil, to be taken with lots of tears, but it was a radical thing which would 
clear up the problem. 

We had as a music teacher Mr. Gloss. Then, when I was five or six my 
father hired a German governess, who spent the whole year with us. It was 
assumed that we would speak nothing but German. Neither my sister nor I 
liked her; she was very strict, and she forced us to do some silly things 
from our point of view, things like needle work, or on holidays to come 
before our parents to present them some silly paintings or this needle work, 
and recite some rhymes in German etc. But I learned German. However, 
father didn't check well enough. The governess had excellent credentials, 


but she came from Prussia and her accent was the so-called Balto-Slavic which 
was not really good Berlin or Nurnberg German. When I was exposed to German 
classes in gymnasium my German instructor said "Oh you learned your German 
from a Prussian girl," and it was already hard to change that pattern learned 
in an early stage. 

After one year with her a French mademoiselle was hired. She was 
younger and prettier than the fraulein, she was lots of fun. We liked her a 
lot; the aspects of French culture were detectable in her and we enjoyed 
hearing French. 

After we lived in Yalta my father hired an Englishman, to teach us to 
play tennis and to speak English. He spent only about 6 months with us, so 
I did not acquire a deep knowledge of English, but still it became the basis 
of my knowledge of the language which was to become so important to me in the 

At one time; also in Yalta, my father hired a teacher of painting, and 
under his guidance I learned quite a few interesting things about painting which 
years later, after I retired, came back to me and I now enjoy painting. 

When we lived in Odessa, since he saw that I liked fencing my father 
hired a private tutor in fencing which again was very much to my liking, and 
when cruel life forced me to leave Russia, almost my first earnings came from 
giving fencing lessons. So, you see, there were quite a few people whose 
services we used in those fabulous times of my youth. 

I should also give a few words to the life of the grownups. My father 
was a judge and because of his position had to take part in certain events which 
called for him to appear in his gala uniform, with a Napoleonic hat, a special 
coat and even a sword. 


We had a large circle of friends, and as I said in our family the grownups 
life was separated from that of the children. We enjoyed our own company. 

We also had a dancing teacher, a very attractive, charming, Russian- 
educated Polish lady, who was teaching us all dancing, and it was agreed that 
all dancing lessons could take place in our home. A number of other children 
came also to take part in those dancing lessons, and a number of elderly men 
who provided the musical accompaniment. We learned quite a few dances, now 
probably no longer in use, the pas de quatre, pas de espagne, pas de patiniere, 
krakoviac, mazurka, and polonaise. Usually when we had quite a big gathering 
at Christmas time my father would sit at the piano and when the Christmas tree 
was lit the children danced in the ballroom to the sound of Chopin's polonaise. 

Since my father was an accomplished pianist he managed to organize 
musical evenings among colleagues in the court and officers and their ladies. 
First there was a quartet playing classical music on violins, and cello, and 
father played piano. Then there were singing parties, there was an officer 
named Piatnitskii with a beautiful baritone, a lady with a low contralto, and 
my mother used to sing quite nicely. My sister and I were permitted to attend 
these parties up to certain hours; when the time came the governess or grand 
mother would come and we had to go to bed. 

Then there were big receptions. We children had our own table at these, 
with places for about 20 people. Usually it would start with the dinner, then 
the men would play cards and the ladies would talk. 

The ladies organized some sort of reading group and would get together 
and discuss literature. It was the beginning of the 20th century, at the 
so-called silver age of Russian literature. Quite a few interesting poets 
appeared at that time. 

Dinners were by candlelight and so was the card playing. Each card 


table which was inlaid with green stuff; there were always two candles and the 
scores were written with chalk on that green table, and later erased with a 

It was a taxing thing for our servants, because first they had to 
serve dinner, then there was a pause during which people played cards, and 
finally at around 3 o'clock in the morning a late supper was served. Of 
course we children were in deep sleep at that time and only saw the results 
when we got up in the morning. In the morning my sister and I would come into 
the living room and see those card tables with lots of scores on them in chalk. 
Sister and I would put our own symbols on them. 

This will be an appropriate time to tell how hard I had to study in 
gymnasium at that time. My sister was what they called an extended student, 
and could study at home, but we had long hours, from nine to three-thirty 
every day, at gymnasium, a combination of high school and junor college. 
We had religion, Russian language and literature, French, German, Latin, 
in math we had arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, analytical 
geometry, and elements of calculus, and very thorough studies of history, 
beginning with ancient times, the Middle Ages, and a very thorough study of 
Russian history. It was the same with geography, which included general 
geography of the whole world, the geography of Russia, and physical 
geography, which included elements of geology, paleontology and oceanography. 
Then there were quite a few subjects of natural history, such as botany, 
anatomy, zoology, geology, and cosmography (the study of stars). Then physics 
and chemistry, hygiene and elements of philosophy. Then calligraphy and 
drawing, also very well organized physical education including gymnastics, 
with rings, parallel bars, etc., and something called sokol exercises that 
is, gymnastics, actually exercises made by all Slavic countries, and we were 


trained for that in case our school would send athletes somewhere to perform 
that; whenever Slavs were together they would do the same exercises. We also 
studied the principles of law. So one can see that the range of subjects covered 
was tremendous. There was also classical Greek, not in substitution for 
something, but in addition. Father wanted me to take it, but it was a little 
bit too much. 

I was pretty good in natural sciences, literature and history, and 
geography. My weakest spot was mathematics, particularly when we hit algebra. 
I had to struggle with that. It was very important to pass every subject 
during the year, otherwise there was either necessity to prepare in summer 
time and take a test in Fall, before going to the next grade, or, if you failed 
you had to stay for one more year in the same grade, which I dreaded. But 
I managed to survive, even though weak in mathematics. 

Father once had a very nice chat with me and he said "I know that you 
have difficulty with mathematics, why don't you sacrifice one summer and I'll 
hire the best possible mathematical instructor for you and you'll cover that 
algebra; you have to know it, for everything else is based upon it". But 
he didn't put too much pressure upon me and I preferred to do without it. I 
managed to get a passing grade in mathematics, but that was all, and my lack 
of facility in it plagued me all through school. 

In other subjects I was very good, particularly in history and humanities, 
as they call it now. 

We were studying six days a week, including Saturdays. Attendance at 
church was mandatory on Sunday, so Sunday morning I had to go to school again, 
and then go in formation from school to church. 

During the winter time the great entertainment was skating. My whole 
family loved it and we skated until the ice began to melt. 

nn mv a pro tint of life on another planet as I have termed it. 

Chapter 7 Scenario I 

Before going on I would like to talk a little about something which is 
very important in our life and everything we are doing, and that is rhythm. 
Rhythm pervades everything; it is one of the most important phenomena in 
life, if you think of the rhythm of the heard, the beat of music, etc. If the 
rhythm is changed, it causes some damage. In the change of rhythm of the body 
this is usually accompanied by malfunction. 

Now where does the rhythm come from? I have thought of it a lot. It 
seems to me that rhythm starts with the universe and is only beginning to be 
understood. I believe in the oscillating or pulsating universe. We live in 
the time when the universe is probably at the end of its expansion cycle; it 
started 12 or 13 billion years ago with the expansion of a primordial atom. 
That atom was a completely collapsed universe, or black hole. That black 
hole is even referred to in the Bible, Genesis 1:3, "And darkness was on the 
face of the deep." Modern science tells us there was an explosion of this 
primeval atom or black hole. Pieces from that explosion are flying apart at 
the present time, creating the universe as we know it now. And this will 
later condense and later explode, etc., etc. And this is probably the 
beginning of all other rhythms. 

Coming down on a scale closer to everyday life, they also follow a 
certain rhythm. Tides and phases of the moon, all effect our life on earth. 

Rhythm in individuals is an extremely important phenomenon. Those 
who are able to control it are more successful. I believe that I possess that, 
probably in a variety of things, I know that I can dance well, and can make 
use of it in fencing, swimming, and particularly in music. We know that 
the primitive beating of drums has an effect on people. Martial music helps 
to inspire soldiers, and rhythm can help overcome tiredness. I believe that 


disruption of rhythm anywhere, disruption of waves, signifies the arrival of 
a storm. Strangely enough that disruption of rhythm in music affects human 
beings adversely, especially those who have a sense of music. Therefore it 
should be taken very seriously that the so-called modern music that started 
with jazz, and developed into rock and roll certainly had some very important 
psychological effects on the people who exposed themselves to it. Much of the 
mischief, and things which shouldn't have happened did so because of certain 
a-rythmical music or persistency of drumbeats, etc. This music for instance 
makes me a little uneasy, it stirs up in me and probably the younger generation 
even stronger than me a feeling which I do not like, and probably excites 
in those who are addicted to it, certain actions which are probably not good 
for society, anti-social action, while soothing music has a different effect. 
Music and rhythm are inseparable. 

When someone has a bad toothache, he puts his hands on his cheeks and 
sways, as if trying to achieve assuagement of that pain by the rhythm. In 
grief there is also a swaying. The peasants in old Russia and many other 
countries, when in grief usually cried and swayed, it was again as if trying 
to achieve through that rhythm a soothing effect. 

Well so much for that digression, the time has come to resume the 
story of my life. Our family plans for 1914 were originally to go for a long 
voyage by boat on the Volga River in summertime. However in February my 
sister Tania became very sick and got pleurisy. She first was taken to 
the clinic in Warsaw and finally a well known specialist advised an immediate 
change of climate; he recommended the Crimea. My grandmother proposed that 
after the end of my school year I should go with her to Rybach'e. It was a 
beautiful summer resort on the Adriatic Sea, belonging to Austro-Hungary at 
that time. At the end of World War I it became an Italian city, and after 


World War II came under the sovereignty of Yugoslavia. But my father said 
no, he would rather take me to Crimea where we would join my mother and Tania. 

The change in climate had a miraculous effect and Tania started rapidly 
to recover, so by the time we reached Yalta in June she was already recovered. 
We had a beautiful rented house with all those semi-tropical flowers including 
magnolias. I remember that summer there was a full eclipse of the sun, and it 
was a kind of eerie experience, it darkened considerably and had a strange 
effect on animals, and birds, especially. 

When it became really hot in Yalta we moved to a little place called 
Isar, about 7 miles up in the mountains from Yalta near the waterfall called 
Uchan-su. It was cooler than Yalta and we had a wonderful time there. We 
spent a lot of time near the waterfall, walked around with friends, went 
down to Yalta to some concerts, etc. 

This was the beginning of the best period of my life. I was 13 years 
old; I had matured fast, and was already interested in many things that grownups 
were. I was well read and interested in politics of that time it was the 
end of the Balkan wars the political situation was tense, with a funny thing 
happening in Albania, with Prince Vid put on the throne by the Austrians. So 
something was going on, and we were getting the local newspaper the YALTA 
HERALD , which provided up to date information. And then the day came, on 
28 June, when the sensational news appeared that in the city of Sarajevo a 
Sebian patriot Gavrilo Princip killed the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, the heir 
to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife. 

On that day the scenario of my life, and of many other people, I would 
say of the whole world, was suddenly and abruptly revised. So from that 
moment on we will consider that whatever I narrate will be Scenario No. II. 


That major event in Sarajevo was followed in rapid sequence by a series 
of ultimatums. The first was by Austro-Hungary to the Serbs, which was 
actually a provocation to war, because no one in his right mind could accept 
the humiliating conditions of that ultimatum. Russia of course declared 
herself standing on the side of Serbia, while Germany declared herself on the 
side of Austria-Hungary. 

Scenario II Chapter 8 

Thus the summer of 1914 was the beginning of World War I. I am not 
going to describe all the events of that story because it can be found in 
many books, notably in THE GUNS OF AUGUST, a very well written book. I just 
want to say that as far as my life was concerned it was a strange paradox 
because the four short years between the outbreak of war and the communist 
revolution in October 1917 were probably the most wonderful years of my youthful 
life, my teenage life, the best years of my life that far. As a young man I 
was robbed of my life by the revolution and civil war, so really the war years 
were probably the best years of my youth. 

The outbreak of the war created a tremendous wave of patriotism and 
nationalistic feeling among the Russians, and this event probably united 
Russia as never before. All political parties were united in their 
determination to carry out the war to victory, because everybody realized 
that there was a mortal danger from Germany, which had always looked upon 
the eastern parts of Europe, and Russia, as its field of expansion. This 
famous drang nach osten doctrine, or drive to the east, had been very well 
known to the Russians since the 13th century, when the Teutonic Knights 
attacked the Slavic principalities which made up the early Russian State. 


There was tremendous outbursts of patriotism and I was completely overwhelmed 
by this. I remember marching under the Russian flag with some other people 
after solemn services in the Yalta cathedral. 

Two members of our family were immediately affected by the war. My 
uncle Vladimir Ulozovskii, my mother's brother, went with his regiment to the 
front, and also my cousin Kolia (Nicholas). Since 1911 or 12 he had been in 
the Naval Academy, something like Annapolis here, and with the outbreak of 
war was immediately commissioned as an officer, and was assigned to the Black 
Sea. We were delighted to go there since we knew that he would be able to come 
to Yalta to visit us, since the fleet was based at Sebasteopol. 

I mentioned that June 28, 1914, when Franz Ferdinand was killed at 
Sarajevo, caused the change of scenario not only in my life but of many 
others, on a global scale. 

But I didn't realize, and I don't think any of the rest of our family 
realized, how much this war was going to change everything in our life. 
Remember that my father was in Lomzha, which was very close to the German 
border, and with the outbreak of war that area immediately became the war 
zone. We had our property there, so immediately after the outbreak of war my 
father decided that he had to go there as soon as possible to see what could 
be done with certain things, so he departed for Lomzha. Upon his return he 
told us that he had closed the apartment. He brought a few documents that were 
needed and practically nothing else. We never expected that the war would 
last more than a couple of months. And don't forget we went to Yalta for a 
summer vacation and so we didn't bring with us any winter clothes, anything 
bulky that was needed for a longer stay, and as the war continued it became 
clear that we would not soon come back. The court was closed, but because 
of father's position he was getting his salary although he was doing practically 


nothing, awaiting a further appointment. And in that position he remained 
until late 1915. It was a kind of cumpulsory vacation. So we became displaced 
persons, already in July 1914, and we never returned to see our home where we 
had lived and to get anything from our property in that area. So we had to 
adjust to new conditions of life. But while father was waiting for a new 
assignment to a new court, the question arose about Tania and me and the 
continuation of our studies. I was admitted to the Yalta gymnasium for boys 
and Tania enrolled in the Yalta gymnasium for girls, but again as an external 
student, as they called it, passing the examinations but not attending classes. 

The Yalta gymnasium was a very pleasant experience for me because 
probably the climate and different attitudes of people living in that wonderful 
climate and area somehow affected the teaching personnel too. Anyhow the 
studies were much easier for me at Yalta than at Lomzha. Yalta being a seaport 
had a yacht club. Since I was already 13, I had a right to be sponsored by 
someone to be a junior member of the yacht club, and that gave me tremendous 
opportunities in learning more about rowing, sailing and so forth. I spent 
all my free time at the yacht club I was participating in the races as a member 
of the crew of a large whaleboat, as we called it, an 8-oared boat which 
served during the races as a kind of life boat. There was a variety of races, 
and every afternoon after school when the sea wasn't rough and as a junior 
member of the yacht club I was also permitted to use the beautiful skiffs, 
little light boats with seats and oars. In these I made long travels along 
the shores of the bay and back and forth along the promenade of Yalta. It 
was a very fashionable place, this Yalta promenade, comparable to the Promenade 
de Anglais in Nice. There was a beautiful park, where concerts given in the 
evening; we had our season tickets to these concerts, and it was all terribly 


And I fell in love for the first time. This kind of emotional maturity 
had developed in me, and already in 1915 or 1916 I had a little romantic 
involvement as usually happens with one of the two young maids who were 
employed by us, and somehow my mother learned about that, listening by chance 
to how the two maids were discussing me, one bragging that she had a little 
affair with me, which led to a not very pleasant discussion on this subject 
between me and my mother. 

As I said before, in Yalta we had another family reunion and to that 
reunion other people came. First of all my uncle, who was a colonel with the 
Siberian troops, badly shaken as the result of the explosion of a shell and 
for a time slightly paralyzed, who was sent to recuperate to the place of his 
choice. He chose Yalta, knowing that we were there, so he and his family 
his wife and his children, my cousin Galia and my cousin Andrew (who later 
on was killed by the Bolsheviks in the Caucasus during the Civil War) came 
there to live with us, and then my Aunt Lika and her husband came to stay with 
us. Her husband a lieutenant-general in the gendarmerie was very well known 
in St. Petersburg, because at one time, from 1905 to about 1911, he was the 
chief of the St. Petersburg Okhrana. The Okhrana was a kind of political 
police of the Imperial Russia. He reported directly to the Minister of the 
Interior and on many occasions directly to the Tsar. By 1914 he was already 
retired but when he came to Yalta he was still well known so the officials came 
to pay their respects and he had to return their visits. Once he entertained 
the Minister of Interior, when he visited Yalta. He was then chief of the 
dept. of police, and was later killed by the Bolsheviks. Then the Kalinovskii 
family, those 3 brothers, and their cousins came there, so we had lots of 
company, lots of fun, as we were about the same age, growing up together. 
There were many interesting things at that time. With the outbreak 


of war I really became a devoted, convinced Russian, burning with the desire 
to leave off everything and go and fight the Germans, but I was a little too 
young for that and had to continue my studies. 

Turkey joined the Germans and the Austrians in the war, and one morning 
when we were gathering in the gymnasium yard we heard artillery salvos. We 
looked out to sea and saw a cruiser. As if in the movies we saw the cruiser 
firing in the direction of Yalta and we even saw a couple of explosions. We 
learned that it was the BRESLAU, one of two cruisers donated by Germany to 
reinforce the Turkish Black Sea fleet. Well, there was not much damage nor 
casualties; a well known store on the promenade was hit, and a couple of 
villas, and that was all. After about a dozen shots the cruiser turned and 
disappeared. In a few minutes a squadron of Russian destroyers appeared in 
hot pursuit of the cruiser but they never caught up with it. 

We followed closely the events of the war, the little local newspaper 
brought all the news from the front, including the initial great advance into 
Prussia. Soon after came the great calamity when the whole Russian army of 
General Samsonov was surrounded and destroyed by the Germans and the commander 
of the corps, General Samsonov, committed suicide. That was a great blow to 
us and we hated the Germans all the more after that. This hasty advance into 
Prussia was caused first of all by our alliance commitment toward France. The 
Germans attacked France through neutral Belgium and threatened Paris. At the 
appeals from the French our Tsar and the commander of the Russian armies Grand 
Duke Nicholas decided to throw whatever forces we had into Prussia to force 
the Germans to relieve the pressure on France. We saved France. France 
called that the Battle of the Ilarne, but the victory on the Marne, and salvation 
of Paris was actually caused by the great sacrifices of the Russian troops 
in Prussia. 


I am telling this only to indicate that we teenagers were following 
all the events very closely, we were great patriots, we wanted victory and 
that was the feeling which pervaded all the classes of Russian society of that 
early stage of the war. Later on the picture changed, but at that time there 
was complete unity of the people with the government, and with the Tsar, and 
so forth. That was wonderful and it was probably the last time that Russia 
was really closely united in the face of the mortal danger of the invading 
and threatening German forces on the west. 

Yalta was not affected much by the war, except for the appearance of 
a few officers wounded on the front these became the target of tremendous 
ovations and attention by the public when they appeared on their crutches or 
with bandages on the streets or in the park. Life continued pleasantly for us 
too. As I said I devoted most of my time to the yacht club. A friend of mine 
in the gymnasium, was of a certain Beketov family. They were very rich people, 
wine producers; they had a beautiful yacht, the Galatea, and we spent quite 
a lot of time on that yacht. In gymnasium I joined the balalaika orchestra, 
I learned how to play the balalaika while still in Lomzha, so I joined the 
orchestra and enjoyed playing in the balalaika which later on was very useful 
to me. We gave some concerts in the houses of our friends, and to some visiting 
dignitaries. Once the Emir of Bukhara came to our school and we have him a 
concert, playing some kind of oriental music. We had a very good brass band 
at the gymnasium under the directorship of Alfred Koussevitsky, the younger 
brother of the Serge Koussevitsky who later became director of the Boston 

I also played tennis. My father hired a young Englishman, aged about 
20 or 22 I don't know what he was doing in Yalta who spent about 6 months 
with us, coming every day to teach us to play tennis and to teach us English. 


And then also at that time my father hired an artist to teach me to paint. 
The first painting he had me do was of some rather strange things, some old 
books, on which were put a skull and a burning candle, the style of that 
time. I personally thought it almost a masterpiece, but my mother didn't 
care much for it. The next was a view of the mountains surrounding Yalta, 
and seascapes and so forth. 

In addition to familiar friends from the past who joined us at Yalta 
I gained quite a few new friends among the Yalta people, among them my classmate 
Volodia Dumbadze, the son of the military governor of Yalta, General Dumbadze;* 
we used to go and visit in their place. They lived in a little palace in 
Livadia, the summer place of the Tsar. 

There was also the Verigin family. They had a beautiful villa not far 
from Livadia, and they rented the upper floor to us. They had a family of 
three, two boys and one girl, one boy, Misha Verigin, was my classmate, and D 
Dumbadze' s. The father of the family by that time was already dead. He was 
a hussar in one of the most unique regiments, of the Imperial guard, and he 
and a friend from the same regiment, Count Novosiltsov, married two gypsy 
singers, sisters, from the gypsy choir in one of the amusement places in 

* Dumbadze, Ivan Antonovich (1851-1916) General. A colorful figure in the 
suite of Emperor Nicholas II. In his youth he was a Georgian nationalist, 
but before 1905 he fathered russification policy in Cancasus. In 1906 he 
commanded 2nd brigade of 34th Infantry Division. When Yalta was put under 
Statute of Extraordinary Protection he was appointed commander of Yalta. 
He belonged to the "Union of Russian people." On 26 Feb. 1907 a bomb was 
thrown at him from the balcony of a dacha. The thrower was shot and D. 
ordered the dacha burned. The government then had to pay the owner 60,000 
rubles. In 1908 his harsh rule caused an investigation in the 
through an appeal of the Octobrists. In 1910 he had to retire but was 
restored a few months later. When the statute of Extraordinary Protection 
was lifted, Nicholas then appointed him to the special post of governor 
(gradonachal'nik) of Yalta. He was one of the opponents of Rasputin. 


St. Petersburg. Of course they had to quit their military careers, and it is 
interesting how that mixed marriage between Russian nobility and gypsies 
affected their posterity. The children had some sort of interesting aura 
around them; they looked a little bit like Gypsies, they were darker skinned 
than all of us. The girl Olga, was at that time about 11 years old. She 
and her two brothers Kostia and Misha lived together with their mother, who 
was a Gypsy, a very fine elderly lady. Many years later, after the Civil 
War, after all that had happened to me, in Belgrade, I believe already in 
about 1924 or 25 I met her and her mother, and she invited me to visit them. 
They were staying a short time in Belgrade on their way to Paris from 
Constantinople. I came to them in the evening, her mother wasn't there so 
I remained with Olga alone and we started to talk, reminiscing about the 
wonderful times we had had in Yalta. And then suddenly I began to feel a 
kind of strange uneasiness, I would say it was something mysterious, some 
kind of strange fear. I didn't feel well at all, it was as if some kind of 
mysterious forces were surrounding me; I had never in my life experience 
anything like that before. Olga apparently noticed my uneasiness and said 
"Oh, I forgot, you probably feel his presence." 

"Who is he?" I asked. 

"I don't know," she said. "I know only sometimes he appears and 
comes to where I am and I know that he is now here, and so if you don't feel 
too easy you had better leave, because I know that people don't like this 
strange experience. I am accustomed to it and I feel no harm from his 

I shook her hand and left as quickly as I could, for I didn't like 
that experience either. 

Now to return to the rain course of my story. 


Yalta and the Crimea were far removed from the battles in the front line 
where the Russians were fighting the Germans. Therefore the war didn't affect 
the way of life very much. We didn't feel the shortage of anything in the 
initial stage of the war, with one exception, relatively soon after the out 
break of war there was a shortage of small change, of coins, because all 
copper was used by the war industry. The government decided to substitute 
instead the use of postage stamps, printed on a cardboard-like paper so that 
they were more durable and easier to handle, so we carried these bundles of 
stamps of various denominations, 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 25 up to 50 kopeks. 
But they looked exactly like the postage stamps; it is too bad I didn't 
save any of them; I can imagine the value of this kind of stamp money today. 

The war was also felt in the rapidly increasing number of military 
people around; there was also an influx of wounded people coming from the 
front. Many of the villas and palaces of rich people were converted into 
hospitals and many ladies of society took it upon themselves to work as 
volunteers in the hospitals, wearing Red Cross uniforms and helping in 
preparing bandages and knitting clothes for the soldiers, such as sweaters, 
socks, and gloves. 

More and more I burned with the desire to go myself and fight, but I was 
too young. Otherwise there was little change in our life. We teenagers had 
a wonderful time both in summer and winter, and more and more interest in 
girls manifested itself in our discussions and actions. My little affair 
with the maid, 18 year old Nastia, which I mentioned, continued for awhile 
until it came to an abrupt end with a kind of comical grand finale. One 
day Nastia asked me to buy her a hat; she never wore a hat but she saw the 
ladies wearing hats and she wanted one too. So out of my allowance I bought 
her a hat for 4 rubles. It was a fancy white silky affair, a big one, and 


she proudly put it on herself, then one day, I don't know what forced me to 
do it, but I did a stupid thing; I decided to take her for a ride at 5 o'clock 
on the Yalta quay, which is similar to the Promenade des Anglais where all the 
rich and famous people paraded either on foot or in carriages. So I hired a 
carriage and she and I started moving along the quay, to the surprize of many 
passersby because I was in my school uniform with that young girl in that 
strange looking white hat. My misfortune was this, that my uncle Lt. Gen. 
Gerasimov and his wife, Aunt Lika, were promenading on the Yalta quay on foot 
that time, and when they saw me in that carriage with that servant, my uncle 
stopped the carriage and just made a gesture to me and her to get out of it. 
We got out; she ran away, and I stood like a fool, red faced, facing my uncle 
and aunt. They were not very pleased with my behavior and created quite a 
sensation when they came back home with me and told the story to my parents. 
The girl was immediately dismissed from our service and that was the end of 
this my first little love adventure. 

Otherwise the yacht club activities continued and one day there were 
some very big races. I was impressed with how they were organized. The 
beginning of the races was set for 12 noon and some members of the yacht club 
had a little bronze cannon which was set in such a way that exactly at 12 
noon the sun rays would go through a lens and concentrate the sun rays on 
the touch hole in the cannon and ignite the powder, then the cannon would 
boom and give the signal for the beginning of the races. They had the angle 
at which the lens should sit quite well, so at 12 noon the cannon fired and 
the races started. I was busy in the whaleboat, something like a launch, 
with oars, but it was a big sturdy boat which was cruising along the race 
path in order that we might pluck out somebody from the water in case of a 


Well, in addition to that we continued to go to the concerts in the 
park, evening concerts and on Sundays there were also afternoon concerts, and 
at these concerts there were also patriotic manifestations. The public usually 
demanded the playing of hymns, the national anthems of all the allies. To 
this day I remember the tunes of the Belgium national anthem, the "Marseillaise", 
"God save the King," etc. There were always quite a few military men present, 
and they were always objects of some patriotic ovation, particularly the wounded. 
We often had luncheons in the open restaurant, where a Gypsy orchestra played 
some familiar old tunes, Strauss waltzes etcetera. 

Well, as I said life was moving smoothly, and gaily and the presence of 
war wasn't felt too much. However, the dispatches from the front became more 
and more somber. There was great jubilation in our house when our troops 
marched into Austria-Hungary, taking Lvov and the fortress Przemysl and so 
forth, but then there were retreats, and casualties grew more and more. 

The resources of the countrv became inadequate to combat efficiently the 
terrific German war machine. At the end of 1915 my father finally got a letter 
from the Ministry of Justice and he was offered the judgeship in three cities, 
Novorossiisk and Odessa on the Black Sea, and Taganrog the port city on the 
Sea of Azov. With no hesitation he selected Odessa because it was a well 
known town with all the best schools and university and so on and he was 
thinking already of our future for higher education and life in a really large 
and cosmopolitan city like Odessa. It was decided that he would go there 
along and find a place for us to live, rent an apartment and then we would 
come there after the end of the shcool year, sometime in June 1916. 

And that was what happened. We waited and finally father wrote us that 
he had found a good apartment large enough and comfortable and bought some 
furniture including a piano, which was ready for us, so in June 1916 we went 


to Odessa. The trip by boat was uneventful, but there were still Turkish 
submarines lurking around; quite a few Russian commercial ships had been 
attacked and sunk. For that reason commercial vessels carried some anti 
submarine cannons . 

Speaking of action on the sea, I mentioned that my cousin Nicholas was 
now an officer in the navy, based at Sevastopol. Initially he was serving 
on a battleship Evstafu, then he was transferred to the submarine force and 
was even attending a navy flying school. Once when he got a pass he came 
to visit us, in his glorious naval uniform I was enchanted, and decided at 
that time that the Navy would be my career in the future. 

His second visit was rather strange. One day, toward the end of the day, 
the servant came, a little bit excited and said that some kind of person, 
very poorly dressed, looking like a fisherman, was insisting on seeing us and 
wouldn't give his name. I rushed downstairs and it was Kolia, looking like 
a fisherman of the lowest possible class, dirty, and "what happened to you?" 
I said. 

He smiled and said "I can't tell you right now; I'll tell you later, 
let me in." And at suppertime he told his story. 

To combat the Turkish submarines in the Black Sea the Russian command 
devised a plan whereby some groups of Russian navy officers with a few sailors 
were assigned to small commercial vessels, like barge or large sail boats, 
which were carrying goods from one port to another. The Turkish and German 
submarines usually were waiting for these ships because they knew that they 
carried important goods. They would appear before the boat and ordering the 
crew to take to small boats and leave the vessel they would sink it, usually 
with cannon fire. So it was decided that our navy would trap the submarines. 
They put on these vessels an artillery piece and an officer in charge, and 


a few sailors; it was well masked, so that when such a vessel was stopped by 
a submarine the officer, dressed like a merchant sailor, would order the 
sailors to uncover the cannon and fire point blank into the submarine. My 
brother was at that time on that kind of a mission, and he told us that with 
that device they had managed to get a few Turkish submarines. 

Well, it was a very pleasant journey and very romantic and fantastic to 
me. That was some time in 1915, in winter I believe, before we left for 

The apartment which father had rented for us in Odessa was very close to 
the seashore and at the same time within easy walking distance to my and Tania's 
schools. My school was the 3rd Odessa gymnasium, and I started classes in the 
fall of 1916. Tania was again an extended student with the private girls 
school of Madame Ballen de Balul. 

We fell immediately in love with Odessa. This was a large gay cos 
mopolitan city. There were lots of people here at that time because Odessa 
was relatively close to the southern front which was called (Rumanian, 
Rumcherod /Rumynsko-Chernomorsko-Odesskiiy Black Sea and Odessa zone) sector. 

Chapter 10 Scenario II 

We loved Odessa, and we started immediately to explore it, going everywhere, 
The transportation was very good and the streetcars went to all parts of the 
city. I familiarized myself with the beaches and went swimming. The apart 
ment was a very good one with a large living room, large dining room, 3 
bedrooms, bathroom, servants quarters and kitchen. We were very comfortable; 
it was well furnished, and pleasant; it was a quiet street, but at the same 
time close to the streetcars, aid the Black Sea was not far away. There was a 
little balcony from the living room, and from that balcony one could see the 


Black Sea which was delightful; I had loved the Black Sea ever since I first 
visited the Crimea. Meanwhile father started his preparations for work in 
the court. The building housing the court was a very impressive one, close 
to the railroad station and again the street car took father directly from the 
corner of our street to the court. And I didn't even need any street car to 
walk to the gymnasium. 

Nearby was a little church which we attended. It was semi-private 
church with a small hospital for war wounded, manned by some ladies of a 
monastic order. We went to the opera, to the concerts, to operettas, and 
getting acquainted with some new friends. Meanwhile, father found that there 
were some people in the court whom he knew from the Warsaw area, who were in 
the same position as he, namely that their courts in Poland were all closed 
and the judges were assigned to increase the numbers of judges in the Black 
Sea area and interior of Russia. 

This first wonderful impression of Odessa never indicated that probably 
the most terrifying and tragic events of our family life would take place 
there, but I will tell about that later. 

In Odessa, when classes started I immediately discovered that the 
instruction was much more strict than at Yalta where, perhaps because of the 
climate, they were a little bit lax. I had to study very hard, and besides 
attending 5 or 6 classes a day I had to study at night for 3 or sometimes 
even 4 hours to maintain my grades. I made quite a few new friends among my 
schoolmates, some of whom lived close by and some even in our house. Our 
apartment building was large, facing two streets, Lermontovskii St. and on 
the other side of the building Lermontovskii Allee. We were on the third 
floor, the top floor, and there was no elevator but it didn't bother us at 
all, for we were young and vigorous and the walk up to the third floor was 


nothing at all. 

The usual system prevailed at that time in apartment houses like that, 
the main entrance door would be closed at a certain hour in the evening and 
there was a house custodian somebody who had a house in the yard. There was 
a huge central yard and our balcony from the dining room was looking into the 
yard, while the other from the living room, looked onto the street and the 
Black Sea. There was a family who were responsible for the house; they were 
always on call when something had to be repaired, and also they were responsible 
for keeping the main door closed so that if somebody would come in the evening 
they had to ring the bell and then the man would come and open the door and 
let him into the apartment. 

The population of Odessa grew enormously because of that closeness to the 
front line. When we came it was close to 900,000 or even a million, while 
the regular population was around 600,000. The population swelled because 
of the great number of military establishments, headquarters etc. There was 
a terrible shortage of housing. Therefore shortly after we settled there they 
started to requisition some apartments by the orders of the military command. 
Well, we were fortunate enough to be spared that, however a friend of father's, 
whom he knew since his judgeship in Lomzha, who became a senator (Our senator 
was the highest judicial position, not like American senators, who are an 
elective body ). Senator Sergii Tregubov once asked father whether we could 
accommodate in our apartment the family of his sister, which consisted of 
the father, mother and their son. 

Well, we said that the only place where we could accommodate them was 
probably in our living room. They were happy to be there. So the population 
of our apartment consisted at that time of our family of four and also the 
three people who lived in the living room. It was a little bit taxing at 


times on bathroom facilities, but the father the family name was Rubakh was 
a general officer and his son, Igor, probably one year older than I, was in 
one of the St. Petersburg schools of law we had these special privileged 
schools. I was very happy to have a friend like him and we spent lots of 
time with him, exploring Odessa and so forth. Tania was also happy, having a 
little romantic experience with this young teenager, who fell in love with 
her. And I was happy for Tania too. 

There were difficulties with servants; we managed to have initially two 
servants, one maid and one cook. The cook wasn't very happy that she had to 
prepare food for so many people, but she was getting good pay so she was 
reconciled to it. 

We dined separately but they were eating the same food as we did. 
Whenever we had some parties at home we were all together. Igor Rubakh and 
I were later involved in many events concerned with the Russian Revolution. 

In contrast with Yalta we felt already the war in its full fury, since 
Odessa was relatively close to the front lines. The situation on the front was 
not good, and I became very much concerned by the fate of Russia. The trouble 
was that Russia was not prepared for a war of long duration; she was not an 
industrialized country like Germany, and already by the middle of 1915 there 
were already felt lack of ammunition and everything on the front line, whereas 
Germany had everything. The reverses were terrible; Russian troops had to 
retreat, Poland was overrun by the Germans, thus we finally realized that 
our hope of returning soon to Lomzha had already vanished. There was also 
great concern about the central Imperial government. Something was wrong 
with the Tsar's regime at the very top. I cannot go into all the details, to 
understand it the best thing is to read two books Allan Moorhead's THE 


that while the country was straining itself to get as much production as possible 
the ministers were changed apparently at the whim of the obscure, strange 
mystical man Rasputin. He had a tremendous influence upon the Tsarina because 
he was the only man who could stop the bleeding of the son, the heir to the 
throne, Aleksei, who suffered from lemophilia. And that was a tragedy. The 
Tsarina, for the sake of her son, depended completely upon Rasputin, and at 
the same time, under the influence of Rasputin she influenced the Tsar for 
certain appointments of ministers, etc. This became known, and throughout the 
country people were very unhappy; there was great concern. 

Anyhow I remember that parallel to the enjoyable life that we were 
leading with friends, songs, flirting with the girls and so forth, having 
beautiful parties, in our house we had a piano at this time, and Tani and 
I played a lot I played already more and more without looking at sheet music 
and rather playing myself. I accompanied groups for singing and accompanied 
myself I sang a little playing all the new popular songs, etc. We had a 
very pleasant time. But at the same there was more and more concern about the 
conduct of the war and the events in Petrograd worried us. It is hard to 
describe that feeling; I felt that something had to be done, otherwise Russia 
might be destroyed. Strangely enough, in circles closest to the Tsar, the 
animosity toward Rasputin was overwhelming, and both intellectuals and grand 
dukes, etcetera were against him. They knew that he was a power which was 
not working for the good of Russia and that some shady characters knowing his 
influence upon the imperial family were using him for their shady ends. 

Finally the day came and on 16 December 1916 Rasputin was killed. He 
was not killed by revolutionaries but by the Tsar's closest relative, Prince 
Dmitri Pavlovich and Count lusupov-Sumarokov-Elston, who was married to the 
Tsar's niece Irina, who by the way was a sister of Prince Nikita, who became 


one of the members of the Russian faculty at the Defense Language Institute. 

The death of Rasputin caused a tremendous sensation. The details of the 
act are very well described in Massie's book. From that time something 
settled down, similar to a Greek tragedy. Everyone had a feeling that Russia 
was going toward some great calamity and great turmoil. However the situation 
on the front had stabilized by that time and gradually, with the help of 
procurements made overseas in Canada and the United States, everywhere, Russia 
was getting more and more munitions and so everything was ready for a spring 
offensive, and that spring offensive of 1917 was timed with the proposed 
offensive on the western front where the Allies, the French and British troops 
were also ready for an offensive. However, Fate did not bring that to 
fruition because before that occurred something happened in Russia. The 
weakness of the government reached a point where as was said by one of the 
revolutionaries later on, the power of the government fell out of the hands 
of the Tsar and his ministers and was lying on the street for anyone to pick 
it up, and there were people who decided to do that. On the 27th of February 
1917 we learned from the newspapers that rioting had started in Petrograd, 
because of the shortage of bread, that some workers had left factories and 
were demonstrating on the streets, and that troops had been called. However 
the troops were reserve units, not well trained, and neither prepared nor 
disciplined, and instead of helping the government they on many occasions 
joined the revolutionary crowd. Red banners appeared everywhere and the word 
revolution first appeared in the news. 

On that fateful and ominous day the scenario of my life again was completely 
revised and rewritten. Scenario no. 3 would deal with a great tragedy, hunger, 
imprisonment, savage fighting, blood, tears and exile. It was a scenario 
comparable with the present day late Saturday night horror movies, the only 


difference being that the horror of my life scenario was not a dreamed up 
nightmare story, but a nightmare itself, a nightmare of my real life as well 
as of my family and millions of other people. 

Initially the revolution was confined only to Petrograd. The Provisional 
Government took power. The Tsar, who was at that time at High Headquarters on 
the Front as Supreme Commander in Chief, was forced to abdicate. He abdicated 
not only for himself but also for his son Alexei, naming his younger brother, 
the shy, mild Mikhail Alexandrovich, as his successor to the 300 year-old 
throng of the Romanov dynasty. But under pressure of the Provisional 
Revolutionary government Mikhail Alexandrovich did not ascend the throne saying 
that he would await the final decision of the Constituent Assembly, which was 
the initial goal of the liberal, starry-eyed and naive members of the in 
telligentsia who made the revolution and became members of the Provisional 
Government. But they didn't know in their naivete and their inexperience what 
kind of dark and terrible radical forces they had set in motion. The Bolsheviks 
toppled the Provisional Government and for the naivete of the early revol 
utionaries Russia paid with the lives of over fifty million people who perished 
in the Civil War, of hunger, and in the labor camps. 

Chapter 11 Senario 3 

Because it took place over a half century ago, there is a tendency to 
oversimplify the facts of the Russian Revolution and project it against the 
modern times. Certain terms need clarification. Therefore I will be very 
careful in defining such things as law and order. At the present time in the 
United States the expression "law and order" has something of a negative 
meaning, usually attributed to persons of extremely conservative outlook on 
life. At the time of the Russian Revolution law and order had a tremendous 


importance and impact because it was projected against lawlessness and lack 
of any order. I will give a few examples of that a little later. 

To deviate a little, I was thinking the other night of what new discoveries 
had been made since my childhood to the present time, A.D. 1973. First of all, 
during my lifetime the first airplane appeared, grad dev during WW II into 
the jet airplanes of always increasing speed that already has achieved 3 mach, 
or 3 times the speed of sound. Another great event of that time, was Albert 
Einstein and his theory of relativity. The present day people don't even 
realize how the gradually the concept of 4th dimension crept into our every 
day life. The other day I was listening to real estate commercials from SF, 
describing certain properties, and said that it was 10 minutes from the center 
of the city. He didn't think as the mass of his listeners didn't, he was 
talking already of time and space continuum, something basic to Einstein's 
theory of relativity. Then some other things appeared during my life time. 
First, tremendously important the computer, which opened doors to many things 
otherwise unattainable. I believe it would have been impossible to send men 
to the moon or even to create atomic energy. So atomic energy was born the 
world of computers the whole nuclear energy a better understanding of the atom, 
space travel a new tremendously important discoveries in the universe including 
pulsars, quasars, the intriguing phenomenon known as the black holes. And 
other things taken at present completely for granted, such as radio, TV, or 
tape recording, or this cassette recorder on which I record the story of my 
life, and then video tape on which we play back etc. All these things, which 
the present generation takes for granted were born during my lifetime. And 
I am happy about this I think it is a great privilege to live in this particular 
era of human history in which such dramatic and incredible changes take place. 


These changes within the past 75 or 50 or 25 years were greater than any 
changes from the beginning of humanity on earth to the beginning of the 20th 

I will now return to my main topic, the events that took place immediately 
following the revolution. I will try to restrict myself only to the highlights, 
for to describe all the chaotic events, all the tremendous changes that were 
happening in rapid succession would require many hours of narrative. 

Therefore from now on I will only give the points which will help to 
explain what put me on the side of the people who were against the revolution. 
At the very beginning of the revolution polarization began in Russia, between 
on the one hand the forces of law and order and the need to bring the war to 
a victorious end, and on the other the forces of dark chaos and disorder. 
It brought the forces into daily conflict which finally resulted in the 
terrible bloody civil war. I don't want to oversimplify the events although 
to anyone in the United States at the present time events that took place at 
that time are hard to explain, but you have to know only one thing, that I 
felt in my bones that Russia was on the verge of a catastrophe, a tremendous 
calamity, and I was ready to fight to keep Russia as such, to keep her honor 
and obligations toward the allies and I knew that the victory which would 
liberate the territories taken over by the Germans was very close and a 
little effort in the spring of 1917, a major offensive, would have saved 
Russia. However, there were forces with the help of a tremendous influx of 
German money, which were working against that. And those forces were embodied 
in the phenomenon known at the present time as Bolshevism. So polarization 
reached its high point and the forces of idsorder under the Bolsheviks. 
These radicals were at one point, called Reds, and we to whom Russia was the 


dear country of our ancestry, whose fate we were very concerned about, we 
became the Whites and this Red and White conflict became a reality, a 
terrible reality. 

Russia was always a country with a highly centralized government 
apparatus the administration of this vast empire outside the capital city 
of St. Petersburg was almost conditioned to receive and obey orders coming 
from the center of power, St. Petersburg, without challenging these orders 
or asking of their validity. In this phenomenon lay both the strength and 
weakness of the government of Imperial Russia. If we had a decentralized 
system of administration, something similar to the states in the United 
States of America, the revolution wouldn't have spread so rapidly to the whole 
empire but probably would have remained localized only in the capital, 
Petrograd, but it so happened that after a riotous crowd and their liberal 
intellectual leaders managed to take over control of some military units and 
seize telephone and telegraph the word was sent out to all local authorities 
of the country to obey immediately all orders of the newly created Provisional 
Committee of the Duma, which later renamed itself the Provisional Government. 
The irony was that an obscure telegraph employee by the name of Bobikov 
happened to send and sign that telegram, thus securing for himself a place 
in the history of the Russian Revolution. It is hard to describe the impact 
of this telegram in such a large city as Odessa, with its population of close 
to one million, its governor and huge administrative apparatus, army head 
quarters and so forth. Upon receipt of that telegram from Petrograd, advising 
that a new government had been formed, signed by this Bobikov, everything came 
to a standstill, because everyone was conditioned that anything that came from 
the capital city had to be obeyed. 


Provincial cities started immediately to imitate what was happening in 
Petrograd. Crowds came out on the street carrying red banners and singing 
the "Marseillaise" which was ridiculous to me because the "Marseillaise" was 
a French revolutionary hymn which had nothing to do with the Russian revolution. 
It proved only one thing, that the liberal intellectuals who wer working for 
the revolution were avid readers and students of the history of the French 
Revolution and tried to imitate it to the letter and that was manifested in 
this singing of the French "Marseillaise" providing Russian words which to me 
sounded silly. I didn't like that from the very beginning. And I didn't 
like the color red, which to me signified blood, although for a very few days 
at the beginning there was no blood. 

However blood appeared soon when the police officers on the streets 
were being shot at and killed by the rioting corwds. Some of them tried to 
save their lives by putting big red ribbons on their chest. The whole thing 
was disgusting, because shortages of many things immediately became apparent, 
since the workers stopped work to demonstrate, all people had to go around 
singing, etc. News was coming massively from Petrograd giving details of the 
progress of the revolution, and now the news came about the abdication of the 
Tsar. This came to our family as a shock. We knew all the weakenesses of the 
last Tsar, we knew all about Rasputin, however it came as a shock when we 
learned that there was no more Tsar in Russia. When I brought the extra, 
special edition of the newspaper to our home and read it to my father and 
mother, my mother cried silently. I was bitter too. 

Well, so we were under the Provisional Government. In that Provisional 
Government there were some probably well intending liberals, intellectuals, 
well-educated, there were some people of very good breeding and blue blood, 
princes and so forth, however parallel to that the more radical element 


among the intellectual revolutionaries were busy working among the already 
established extreme revolutionary cells of Social Revolutionaries and 
Bolsheviks and by the time the new Provisional Government was organized, 
parallel to it there was organized a Soviet of Soldiers, Peasants and Workers. 
And the Soviet immediately began to exert a tremendous influence upon the 
Provisional Government. 

And under that influence the Provisional government made the fatal 
mistake of sending out the infamous Order No. 1 intended for the armed forces 
of Russia. That Order No. 1 spelled out that from that day on the saluting 
of officers was no longer required of soldiers, they would not need to salute 
the officers, and then that there would be committees established in all army 
units to elect deputies among the soldiers who would "help" the command in 
making certain decisions. This order spelled the end of the great Russian 
army. Discipline immediately disappeared, since soldiers and enlisted men 
interpreted this order as not only permitting men not to salute O's, but not 
to obey them. And if the officer insisted on ordering something they just 
didn't comply with the officer's order, and killing, the most savage murdering 
of officers took place. When I heard about that, that was the moment I became 

In order to legalize its power the Provisional Government immediately 
requested all the administrative apparatus in the Empire, and strangely enough 
all the students and school children, to take the oath of allegiance to the 
new Provisional Government. In our gym accordingly the entire student body 
was assembled in the big assembly hall with the school director and all the 
instructor personnel assembled. A priest came out with a Bible to read the 
pledge of allegiance to the new government. Before the ceremony started 
something snapped in me and I got revolted about the whole procedure. I 


f irmly stepped out of the ranks of the students and walked out, passing by 
the director and all the staff of the gymnasium, bowing a little my head in 
passing by them and walked out from the gym and went home. I noticed only 
one other man follow my example. So only 2 of us out of 300 defied this order 
of the Provisional Government. By this I claim that I have never accepted 
the Russian Revolution and I never pledged my loyalty to the Revolutionary 

Odessa, as I said, was such a city which depended upon goods brought in 
from the outside provinces, and the railroads immediately became overtaxed. 
They were already overtaxed by troop movements so there were not enough trains 
to bring foodstuffs in Odessa, and gradually we began to feel the pinch of 
food shortages. That summer still, that first summer of revolution, we 
decided to spend outside the city. We decided to go to the little town of 
Achakov which is not far away from Odessa, the place where the two rivers 
Dnepr and Bug join and flow into the Black Sea. It is a pleasant place and 
that summer was very pleasant, with the exception of a few unpleasant things 
connected with the revolution. Otherwise it was very nice. I swam there and 
had good company. I had some experience with boating, and going by myself 
in a sailboat. However, in the town itself the monument to General Suvorov, 
the famous Russian hero of the time of the Napoleonic wats, was all draped with 
red banners. Then there was a little island at the mouth of the river, Perezan, 
on which was a grave of a Russian navy officer who was leader of the revolutionary 
uprising on the cruiser Potemkin, made famous in the movie of Eisenstein. Well, 
one of the characteristics of the Russian revolution was that the revolutionary 
crowds had a passion for digging up the bones of past revolutionaries, carrying 
them with funeral parades through the town playing great funeral march music, 
the "March Funebre", etc., carrying black and red banners, the whole thing was 


revolting. So that was the beginning of the Revolution. 

We began to feel shortages of food, clothing and everything. It was 
particularly painful for me, because I was growing and all of the things that 
I was wearing became short, and it was almost impossible to get new things. 

The revolution in Russia got under way with great speed. It broke out 
in the midst of misery and shameful defeat at the hands of the Germans and 
Austrians. We had quite a few reverses at the front at that time because of 
lack of ammunition. Initially this February Revolution seems to have been 
welcomed by quite a large part of the population with the exception of the 
officers who were at the receiving end of the soldier's mutiny, and some 
other classes who believed in the necessity of preserving law and order 
during the critical time of war. 

Lenin returned to Russia from exile in Switzerland in April 1917 and 
immediately started his agitation against the war and against the Provisional 
Government. He refused to collaborate with what he called the bourgeois 
Provisional Government and decided to seize power by force. The first attempt 
was made by the Bolsheviks in July. It failed and the Bolsheviks were defeated 
on the streets of Petrograd. Some of the Bolshevik leaders were arrested, but 
Lenin managed to escape to Finland. In the meantime we returned to Odessa 
at the end of the summer. 

A terrible event took place at that time. General Kornilov was the 
commanding general of the armed forces, appointed by Kerensky. For many of 
us he was our only hope. We hoped that he would manage to bring some semblance 
of order, at least to keep our front intact to continue the war against the 
Germans and Austro-Hungarians. Suddenly General Kornilov was denounced by 
Kerensky as a traitor. That was the slyest, most heinous act of that man who 
became drunk with power as prime minister, head of the Provisional Government 


Minister of Justice, everything. As a Socialist Revolutionary he often said 
that to him there was no danger from the left, i.e. from the Bolsheviks, etc., 
there was only danger from the right, from monarchists, etc. Well, denouncing 
Komilov was a very unfortunate act because it only helped speed up the complete 
disintegration of the army. Since Odessa was close to the front we immediately 
felt that; lots of deserters appeared on the streets of Odessa, idle soldiers, 
who left their units on the front, going home. They were deserters, and they 
usually carried their weapons with them. Therefore towards October these 
masses of soldiers were gradually escaping from the front lines and spreading 
out through the country. There were masses of weapons everywhere, everybody 
had some kind of weapon. We at home had at that time 2 revolvers which had 
been in my father's possession since the time he and my mother married. Since 
he and my mother lived in the provinces he considered it important to have 
these revolvers at home. One was father's and one was mother's. Then I 
managed to acquire a military carbine and also my father had his shotgun. I 
am talking about these weapons because it is extremely important to know that 
we were rapidly reaching the point when there was no police protection, nothing. 
The streets became the arena of complete absence of law and order. The 
Provisional Government particularly the people in the provinces, immediately 
offered to free the political prisoners, however there were actually so few 
political prisoners incarcerated at that time that the prison gates were 
simply opened for everybody, for all the bandits, murderers, thieves and so 
forth who were let free. They took over the streets, particularly of the 
large cities, organizing into bands and robbing and killing people during the 
days and nights. Particularly at night time it was almost impossible to walk 
the streets of Odessa because usually a few armed bandits would stop a person 
who dared to walk the streets and just take off everything that he was wearing, 


there was such a shortage that of clothing that hats, coats, pants and shoes 
were in great demand. A friend of ours once knocked at the door and came 
trembling only in his underwear because he had just been robbed of every 
thing else. So that was a daily event, a manifestation of the revolution in 
its initial stages. Not too many people were killed unless they tried to 
protect themselves and didn't follow the orders to disrobe. In that case 
there was danger that the bandits would kill them, but if they surrendered 
their coats, suits and shoes they were left along, to run like ghosts in their 
white underwear. 

I felt at that time that I needed to be in good physical shape and I 
continued my fencing lessons vigorously. Rings were put in the doors of our 
apartment where I could practice on the rings to develop the upper part of my 
body. I enrolled in a private fencing academy and worked on my master's 
degree in fencing. Practicing at home with a dummy hung in a door I 
developed sufficiently so that when the examination came I managed to get 
my diploma of fencing master. However there was one interesting case. We 
drew tickets to find the opponents with whom we were going to fence in the 
final bout and for my bout with foil I drew a name and saw that it was a 
lady's name. I thought well, this will be an easy prey', but it was the 
most difficult fencing match I ever had, because the lady, besides being an 
excellent fencer, was also a left-handed and never in my life had I fenced 
with anyone who was left handed, so when I faced her and saw ther she was 
moving her foil in her left hand I was a little distressed and really in a 
short time I got two touches. Three was out, so I tried to escape, only 
defending myself, and trying to figure out how I was going to counter attack. 
Finally with lots of sweat and calculation I managed to give her three 
touches and I won the bout. But I would never forget that lady fencer who 


fenced with her left hand. 

The Provisional Government which emerged from the February Revolution 
had through its connection with the Duma or Russian parliament some claim to 
legitimacy. However, the radical groups, the Bolsheviks, through their 
network of Soviets gradually gained control over masses of tired soldiers on 
the front and workers in the factories. 

On October 25 (n.s., November 7) after a first, unsuccessful attempt to 
seize power in July, because the regular army was by then disorganized the 
Bolsheviks succeeded in seizing power in Petrograd with an uprising. 
Relatively little blood was spilled. The last units to defend the 
Provisional Government, strange to say, were the military cadets and the womens 1 
battalion. The womens 1 battalion was organized by a woman as a result of 
feeling shame for Russian soldiers and a woman wanted to show an example for 
men at the front who had started at that time already to desert the front 
lines, fraternizing with the enemy, selling Russian honor for bottles of 
German schnaps. Women took arms and organized into battalions under the 
leadership of a woman officer named Bochkareva. The same women protected the 
Kerensky government but were overpowered by the well armed and ruthless 
Bolshevik forces in Petrograd. 

The establishment of Bolshevik power in the country was a relatively 
long process. But the moment from the October Revolution to the final 
establishment of the Soviet government was probably the most terrible period 
of the Russian Revolution. Actually there was no power at all anywhere, no 
government forces, nothing; there were only bands, pretty large groups of 
deserters organized under some enterprising leaders, some of them even women, 
who had trains at their command, who used to go travel from city to city, 
capture the city, pillage and kill and then move on. It is hard to describe 


the anarchy that existed at that time, but I will try to give a few examples. 

In Odessa first of all the anarchists seized a villa in the outskirts 
of the city and proclaimed an anarchist republic. They had lots of ammunition, 
wine, liquor, and women companions. They displayed the jolly roger, the black 
flag of anarchy and kept all the people terrorized so that no one would 
approach their position. Whenever they saw anyone approaching they would open 
fire with machine guns or throw hand grenades. They were making forays into 
the city, seizing whatever they needed most provisions, liquor, etc. They 
were armed to the teeth and everyone was afraid of them. There was no police 
or militia of any kind, and therefore each house had to be protected by the people 
who lived there. In our apartment house we decided that all men who could 
bear arms would be on constant guard protecting the entrance to the house. The 
main entrance was solidly blocked by wood, so there was only one entrance and 
we kept it closed, guarded constantly by two men, aged probably 15 to 70, 
armed with whatever we had. Very often, the guards were overpowered by bandits 
who managed to get into the apartment houses killing people, raping women and 
so forth, so eventually the blocks started to get organized; several houses 
would organize a little defense unit for the block which at night was patrolling 
the streets around that place, heavily armed trying to prevent the attacks 
by the bandits and protect the lives of the families. In our apartment, with 
father, we had developed a contingency plan that even if the bandits managed to 
break through into the house and come to our apartment father and I would 
defend the entrance with whatever weapons we had, the military carbine, the 
two revolvers, and the shotgun. 

As I think back on it now, it sounds unreal, but that was the reality 
of life then, controlled by the bandits and anarchists. There was no law and 
order. That was the moment at that terrible period when I learned to give a 


different connotation to those two words which meant very much to me, because 
we realized that law and order were the salvation of our lives. 

Chapter 13 Scenario 3 

By coincidence this is Chapter 13 - 13 is an unlucky number- because the 
events which I am going to describe in this chapter were probably the most 
unhappy events in the life of our family. I have already told how after 
seizure of power by the communists in the Oct. revolution the communists 
didn't seize power the power wasn't spread immediately over all the country, 
so that initially, before the establishment of real communist power there was 
rule by bands organized by chieftains, sometimes even led by a woman. One 
bank was led by "Sonia the Golden Hand", another by "Misha the Japanese". 

One of the most powerful bands that was active in the Odessa area was 
that of a certain ataman or chieftain Grigor'ev. When this band approached 
Odessa they were opposed by the remnants of some forces of order that still 
existed along the railroad lines, but they overcame all that, and with train- 
loads of goods, weapons, and men armed to the teeth they finally rolled into 
Odessa. There with the help of sailors who were stationed on the battleship 
in Odessa harbor, the Sinope, they seized that battleship and also the 
auxiliary cruiser Almas and shortly after that they addressed the municipality 
of Odessa. Odessa was probably the only center that still had something that 
could be called city government. It didn't possess any power, but still 
there were some people who represented the city so to speak. They sent an 
ultimatum to the city government and I remember reading that ultimatum, which 
was printed on brown wrapping paper since there was a shortage of paper there 
was no white paper at all. It stated in very rude and threatening language 
that "You dirty bourgeoisie of the city of Odessa, get ready to give us money 


and so forth within 24 hours or we will level it by bombardment from our 
battleship and cruiser." 

Well, I don't know what the city fathers did with that, how they 
managed to start collecting money, but I know that the only slight resistance 
to these bands was given by the military cadets of the military academy 
located on the outskirts of the city. It was an artillery military academy 
and the cadets bravely defended their academy against the Red bands and even 
tried to chase them out of the city but of course couldn't do anything against 
the overwhelming number of the bandits, so they had to retreat. I saw some 
street fighting from the balcony of our house. I had to get off that balcony 
when the bullets started whistling around me, because they started shooting at 
anyone they saw appearing at the windows or on the balconies. 

The city was seized by the band and they started pillaging, going into 
the houses etc. Our little house defense couldn't do anything. I was on 
guard duty during the day when a group of about 12 men armed to the teeth with 
hand grenades, rifles, etc. came to our house. Of course there was no question 
of any resistance. They asked us who lived in the house, and the man who was 
with me he was a retired merchant and I a student, we told them "we are just 
poor people, we don't have anthing here." We didn't really look like well 
dressed bourgeoisie, so they entered a few apartments at the lower level on 
the first and second floors and didn' t bother going to our third floor, thank 
God, so this time we escaped any kind of invasion. 

The tragedy of the situation was that at night, apparently not satisfied 
with whatever contribution was made to them by the local people through the 
municipality, they opened fire from the big guns of the battleship, and we 
were lying in the house listening to the bombardment, first to the big bang 
of the 12 inch guns, the noise of the shells flying over the city, and then the 


explosion somewhere in the outskirts. I think they were primarily in the 
direction of the military academy. The bombardment lasted approximately a 
half hour. There was not a single night that there was not shooting, and 
there was shooting going on throughout the entire city. With darkness you would 
hear machine guns, and rifles, and somebody was fighting somebody else, and 
shooting and killing etc. These Grigor'ev bands made mass arrests and their 
targets were officers of the Russian army. Many officers were killed on the 
street and some of them were taken to the battleship Sinope and to the 
cruiser Almoz, where I know of several cases of some old general officers and 
admirals who were thrown alive into furnaces and burned to death. Many of them 
were tortured in indescribable ways. Officers went into hiding, and I saw 
with my own eyes how one was chased on the roof of the building next to ours 
and killed on that roof. I will never forget that scene. Many others were 
thrown into the harbor with weights attached to their feet. Months later, 
after the White army took Odessa in 1919, a diver was sent to look for the 
bodies and he suffered a nervous breakdown from seeing these bodies of officers 
floating in a standing position. 

Well anyhow, at that time the newspapers appeared regularly, in limited 
number. They were not for sale but posted at intersections, on walls of the 
houses, printed on brown wrapping paper. From them we learned what was going 
on in Russia. We learned that in November the Bolsheviks ordered all troops 
on the front to cease fighting and start fraternizing with our enemies the 
Germans, and at the end of November a Bolshevik delegation with white flags 
went to the German lines begging for an armistice. 

The Germans ordered the delegation to come for negotiations to the 
city of Brest-Li tovsk, where the most humiliating and shameful armistice and 
peace treaty was negotiated. The peace negotiations lasted quite a while and 


flnally were signed only in March 1918. It was the most crushing defeat for 
Russia in all history. As a result of that Bolshevik peace treaty Russia 
lost 1/10 of her population, 1/4 of her huge territory and more than 1/2 of 
her industry. This terrible act aided the organization of the anti-Bolshevik 
forces so that at the end of 1917 and the beginning of 1918 in the areas of 
the cossacks in the Don and Kuban river areas the first units of the White 
army started to fight the Reds. Of course when I heard of that my only dream 
was to see the day when I could join these forces and fight the Reds who had 
brought such shame and misery to Russia. We suffered primarily from cold that 
winter, and malnutrition. The stores were closed and one could obtain food 
only at free markets at several places on the outskirts of Odessa, where the 
peasants were bringing agricultural produce, meat and poultry. They did not 
accept any money except the old tsarist money, which had almost disappeared. 
Otherwise there was only Provisional Government money which was completely 
without any value. There was such a need of some sort of monetary system that 
the city government of Odessa printed special Odessa money just for circulation 
within the city. These notes were approximately the same color as the old 
tsarist money, with a picture of the city hall in the center. 

Meanwhile I had to continue goint to the gymnasium. I had completely 
grown out of my winter coat and there was no way for me to dress properly and 
warmly, so I put some paper on my body to protect me against the cold and ran 
fast to the school. Sometimes I had to stop and hide somewhere in the courtyards 
of the houses because street fighting continued all the time, day and night, 
particularly at night. At the gymnasium it was a little bit warmer, thank God, 
however there were many windows broken by stray bullets. When finally we 
reached the stage where it was impossible to heat the entire building we all 
moved to one room and bought a little metal stove which served for heating. 


To let out the smoke we broke a window, put the stove pipe through the window 
and fixed it so it wouldn't fall down. That was the way we lived. We didn't 
have much wood, so when we had burned all of the wood and coal which we had in 
the cellar we had to find some other source of fuel, so father decided to 
start burning our library. It wasn't our main library our very large 
library had been left in Poland but we had still collected some books, so 
Father decided on priorities, first the most unimportant things like magazines. 
However, paper burns too fast so we had to bum some wood, and the only wood 
was our parquet floor, so we were getting some pieces of our floor and burning 
that. We did that only toward evening when I had to study, and then for the 
night we would bundle up completely. We went to bed bundled up like for the 
street, never undressing, it was too cold. 

We never, as I said, had enough to eat. The only food that I remember 
that winter was barley, and whatever we managed to exchange with the peasants, 
but it was not much because all our property, all our things that we could have 
used for exchange, were left in our house in Poland in 1914. Father brought 
to Odessa only furniture and bare necessities and what we considered temporary 
until we returned to our old house in Poland. Now that hope was shattered 

There was a great problem with water. The pressure was so weak that 
it never reached our third floor. There was a little bit of water on the first 
floor, so the people who lived there shared with us but later on they didn't 
have enough, then all the people in that area were forced to go with pails 
every day early in the morning in darkness to the hydrant where some water 
was still coining out, and bring water home. This water shortage also created 
a terrible problem with sanitary facilities. We had to build an outhouse in 
the courtyard and dig a big hole and all the wastes were thrown there; it was 


very unpleasant. 

As I said, we suffered from hunger, and the most important thing which 
was needed to save life was to have flour, and something sweet sugarand 
fats. Well, my father found one a little solution through the use of sunflower 
oil as a fat substitute. That's the only kind of fat we had. We used it 
mixed with barley. My father got the sunflower oil instead of a salary. The 
court was closed, but some of the attorneys who knew father helped him to get 
a position of legal advisor to some organization of war veterans or something 
where he actually was paid a half gallon of sunflower oil every second month. 
And also what helped a little was the school director; he knew our situation 
and he had sympathized with me since the moment I left the cadre when the 
pledge of allegiance to the Provisional Government was given and I refused to 
take it. So he secretly sympathized with me and he called me one day and said 
"A woman, the mother of one of the students of the lower classes asked me to 
recommend a tutor for her son and I recommended you. So here is the address 
of that family; go ahead and offer your services; tell them I told you to 
go there." I was very happy, but still I didn't have a coat so I ran I 
really learned how to run through the cold streets of Odessa. Fortunately 
it wasn't far away. Well again I had a problem not only with my coat but I 
also didn't have good shoes. So I went there and thank God it was the family 
of a shoemaker. She and her husband told me "Well, if you teach our son, we 
can't pay you. The money isn't worth anything, but I will make you a pair of 
shoes". That was a wonderful thing; and what was probably the most important 
was that every day when I came there there was a cup of hot tea waiting for 
me with a sandwich, or an egg, so I had something to eat, and when that 
tutoring ended I got a good pair of shoes. 

Well the most difficult time came for us with the approach of Christmas. 


Christmas, like in the United States, was some sort of festive day of gaiety, 
gifts, a Christmas tree, etc., and here we didn't have anything. We went to 
a little church nearby. The priest of that church came from the United States; 
he came here from Chicago shortly before the outbreak of the war, was cut off 
by the war and stayed as a priest of that little church. He felt that he was 
an American in his attitudes and feelings; he didn't have any sort of hang-up; 
nothing could stop him, he was a very resolute man, not afraid of anybody, 
he knew how to talk to the workers and bandits. He lived only with the support 
of his parishioners; my father and others provided that support, and we decided 
to defend our church against all the Bolshevik attacks against the religion. 
Later on this priest and his son, who was an American educated physician, 
played an important role because he saved my mother's life after she got that 
terrible disease, the Spanish flu. 

Well, Christmas came and it was a very difficult day; my father went 
somewhere early in the morning and we were afraid of what might have happened 
to him; and then a little miracle happened. Late at night, when we were in 
bed my father returned. The coachman who brought him came loaded with all 
sorts of things, the main thing a wonderful second hand warm winter coat for 
me; that was salvation for me; he also brought some candies, even a little 
Christmas tree and candles for that tree, some foodstuffs, a warm shawl for 
mother, and other things, very important for all of us. Immediately we felt 
it was Christmas, night, and a miracle of Christmas. It was probably one of 
the most wonderful Chris tmases we ever had; and happened in the darkest time 
of our family life. 

In January (the books say it was on the 18th, old style), the Soviet 
government in Odessa solidified. The dreadful Cheka or secret police was 
established and mass arrests started on a more organized basis than those 


previously performed before by the Bolshevik bands, as that of Grigor'ev. The 
only people who managed to maintain life relatively regular level were 
professional people like doctors, teachers, physicists and artists, who were 
very much in demand by the press. The new rulers of Russia liked and demanded 
entertainment, so theaters were open and the only thing was that the public 
which attended was very much different that it had been before the communists 
seized power. I myself joined a balalaika orchestra, which was a kind of 
outlet for my activities and helped a little bit because we were getting a 
share of the income received by the performances. I remember one performance 
of our balalaika orchestra in the circus, and shortly before that performance 
we had our regular repertoire of Russian folk music, and folk songs the 
representatives of the new masters of Russia told us that since there would 
be highranking political figures present at the circus we would have to learn 
how to play the 'Internationale'. It was a ridiculous thing, but we had to 
do it, so our conductor found the music somewhere and we rehearsed. When we 
came to the circus we saw some bandit-like masters sitting in the former best 
seats and boxes and when they signalled us we started to play the 'Internationale' 
and everybody stood up. 

Odessa was a cosmopolitan city. There were some very rich people and 
some of them managed to maintain secretly, in hiding, some kind of high living, 
hiding that from outside, barring the windows so that light from their houses 
and apartments wouldn't be seen from the street. Thus a very interesting 
event took place on New Years Eve, 1918. On that day a famous actress of 
the Odessa light opera arranged a New Years Eve party in a house. It was 
decided among the artists and some wealthy groups to have a good old fashioned 
party. They managed to get all the drinks, champaign etc. and decided to come 


secretly dressed up in the best possible way with white tie and tails for 
the men and furs, diamonds, etc. for the ladies, so it was a very interesting 

A man whom I later met in a jail, who was of Swiss origin, by the name 
of Ernst later he married a Russian girl and escaped from Russia at about 
the same time as I did said that he had attended this gathering, wearing a 
very expensive diamond ring on his finger. Well, just a few minutes before 
12 o'clock, when champaign was being poured into the glasses and everything 
was going fine, some armed men forced their way into the house and came into 
the dining room, presented themselves to the actress and the leader of the 
band told her "We are your admirers, we learned that you are celebrating the 
New Year, and we came here to wish you a happy New Year. Nobody is going to 
be harmed, however, everybody is going to have to give us all their valuables, 
money, gold diamonds, everything, and only you can keep your valuables because 
we admire your talent." My friend said that he knew that his very valuable 
ring was the most important thing. He managed to slip it from his finger and 
dropped it on the floor and stepped on it. So they took from him a gold 
cigarette case some pearl cufflinks, etc. Everybody had to give everything 
including furs; then this little band drank champaign, wished everybody a 
happy new year and disappeared. Well, as I say I heard that story from Mr. 
Ernst later on. 

So some people managed to have a clandestine good time because they had 
lots of things to take to the market and exchange with the peasants who were 
coming and bringing goods, while we didn't have anything. Later on, when the 
first wave of communists were chased out of the Odessa region and people went 
to the peasant villages they saw the most fantastic things in the peasants' 
homes pianos, and beautiful pieces of furniture, which they had exchanged for 


foods tuffs which they delivered to the city dwellers. 

As I mentioned, the city government did a good job because what little 
water was coming out was due to their efforts; the electric light I believe 
was on about 6 hours a day and all this responsibility was of the city 
government. The targets of the communists were officers for the reason that 
the officers didn't accept the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk; they didn't accept 
the partition of Russia, they wanted to fight the most dangerous enemy that 
Russia had ever had, and so they became the target. The tortures and the 
massacres were hard to describe. I attended the funeral service in Odessa 
cathedral for two young officers who were killed by the Bolsheviks. They 
were lying in their coffins open to view, and on the forehead of each of them 
were seen stars carved with knives, and their ears were cut off. It is hard 
to describe what these people were exposed to. 

So the main targets of the Bolsheviks were the officers of the Russian 
army, and then the clergy of the Russian church. It should be remembered that 
the Russian church played throughout the more than 1000-year history of 
Russia an extremely important role. First of all it brought Byzantine 
civilization to Russia in the 10th century, so that while Rome fell under the 
onslaught of the barbarians, the only remaining center of Western civilization 
was Byzantium and Russia through direct contact with Byzantum got that 
. civilization and became by the 12th century an extremely powerful country 
which had the respect of all the rest of the then existing European world. 
At the time of Yaroslav the Wise the prestige of Kievan Russia stood at its 
zenith in the beginning of the llth century the state extended from the 
Baltic to the Black Sea and from the mouth of the Oka River to the Carpathian 
mountains and the Kievan ruling family enjoyed close connections with many 
other reigning houses of Europe. Himself the husband of a Swedish princess, 


Yaroslav gained the hands of three European princesses for three of his sons 
and married his daughters to the kings of France, Hungary and Norway. One 
of his sisters became the wife of a Polish king, another the wife of a 
Byzantine prince. Yaroslav offered asylum to exiled rulers and princes, 
such as the princes who fled from England and Hungary and sent Olaf the King 
of Norway with his son and his cousin Harald Hardraade. In Kievan Russia six 
Kievan matrimonial alliances were established with Hungary, five with Bohemia, 
some fifteen with Poland and at least eleven with Germany. 

Therefore, to the Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, these things were 
anathema. Lenin had no compassion, no feeling with Russia at all it is a 
known fact that he got angry when someone mentioned Russia, saying "Russia, 
1 could spit on Russia, I am not interested in Russia, I believe only in the 
world International Russia does not exist for me." So, the second target 
besides officers were the clergy, and there were quite a few bishops, arch 
bishops and even the patriarch who were killed by the Bolsheviks and many 
monasteries were closed, monks were dispersed or killed. We, the believers, 
tried to protect the church. As I said before, we were fortunate enough that 
the priest in our little church was an American probably that fact helped 
him to maintain some kind of prestige and the Bolsheviks did not touch him. 

Another class of society that became the target of the Bolshevik 
persecution was of course the judges, because they represented law and order, 
and they started to hunt the judges just as they did the officers and the 
clergy, and therefore the position of my father became very dangerous. 

They didn't know much about my father because his career started in 
Poland and he got the appointment to the Odessa court shortly before the 
Revolution and the documents on him never reached the court before the outbreak 
of the Revolution, so in the documents seized by the Bolsheviks in the court 


they didn't find anything about him as well as the other judges who came 
from Poland. 

One of the measures of the new regime was to save energy. It is 
strange that I narrate this story when today we here in the United States 
are facing an energy shortage. Whereas I am telling about the energy crisis 
in the year beginning in 1918 in Russia caused by war and revolution. 

One of the measures taken by the Bolsheviks in February 1918 was to 
move time three hours ahead. You cannot imagine what it meant; you had to 
get up in the middle of the night to go to school etc. Soviet militia had 
already appeared on the street and they were stopping people on their way to 
work and so forth and demanding "Show me your watch'." and if they saw that 
watch was not moved three hours ahead they would take that watch and throw 
it on the street and break it. I religiously moved my watch three hours 
ahead because that was how life was there. 

At the same time the German troops were rapidly advancing into the 
Ukraine where that Ukrainian government was organized and they were pushing 
toward Odessa. Here is an interesting thing. We had mixed feelings. The 
German troops were coming and bringing some kind of relief because the situation 
had become unbearable. Actually we expected to be killed every day or night. 
More and more friends of ours were arrested and vanished. 

Then one day, in March 1918, when father and I were walking along the 
street toward the railroad station when the bombardment was quite close to the 
city, first heavy artillery and then machine guns then we saw the Bolshevik 
troops in cars moving rapidly through the street past us firing pistols and 
rifles. A couple of pistol shots were fired in our direction but they missed 
us. A moment later a train pulled up to the railroad station and then German 


troops appeared, coming out from the station and rapidly running and setting 
up positions along the streets. They were shouting in German for everyone 
to take cover, so father and I ran to the nearest house. Standing in the 
entrance we saw how this well organized and disciplined German army started 
to capture Odessa. Within two or three days they seized the whole city. The 
nightmare of Bolshevism disappeared. It was like a miracle. I felt bad that 
order had been brought by the enemy, the Germans, but they had brought 
salvation from what we had had. Then something incredible happened; I never 
saw anything like it in my life suddenly food appeared, the stores opened, 
the trains started to run and the mails started to move. 

Chapter 15 Scenario 3 

That period of German occupation and creation of what you would call 
nowadays a puppet state of the Ukraine was comparatively nice living because 
suddenly everything started to move normally. There was suddenly enough 
food, cafes and restaurants opened; there was no longer the terrible hunger 
and shortage of fuel and electricity etc.; life became more or less normal 
in spite of the fact that the Germans were looting the Ukraine of everything, 
taking everything back to Germany in order to proceed with the war on the 
Western Front. The Ukrainian government was headed by a hetman, the title of 
a leader of the old Ukrainian organization in the past. That hetman was 
Skoropadsky; a former general of a Russian guard regiment. His residence, 
was in Kiev, the first capital city of ancient Russia. 

Well, with the restoration of travel, we went to visit our relative, 
the Ulozovskii's, who had bought a little suburban house with a beautiful 
garden and orchard with apples, cherries and everything, in Chernigov, not 
far from Kiev, so we went to stay with them for a couple of weeks. We went 


by boat, we stopped in Kiev where my cousin Nicholas Ulozovskii, who still 
lives as an old man in retirement in Nice, France. He was there because of 
his Ukrainian descent he was invited to serve in the Ministry of the Navy of 
the new Ukrainian state. 

This hetman era, the period in which the Ukraine was under the hetman, 
was something like the eye of a hurricane. We had just gone through a 
terrific storm and upheaval, which I have described, and then suddenly we 
reached calm the eye of the hurricane, in which everything became quite and 
calm with Germans everywhere they didn't interfere with the life of Russians 
very much, they were very occupied with fighting the communists underground, 
which of course we were glad to see, and strangely enough they established 
some sort of modus vivendi, some sort of detente, you could say, with the 
Soviets which enabled many Russians in the parts of the country occupied or 
held by the communists to claim Ukrainian origin and move to the Ukraine. In 
that way my uncle, General Gerasimov, and his wife, my aunt (Tetia) Lika, 
escaped from Bolshevik territory. They managed to cross the border without 
being searched too thoroughly and to bring with them a little bag of jewelry 
which the Red soldiers didn't notice, and that helped them live quite awhile 
in relative financial security. Among a few items which my Aunt Lika passed 
on to me are a gold cigarette case which belonged to my uncle, a gold watch, 
and a beautiful ring that belonged to my mother, all of this they brought out 
at that time. They came to Kiev and then later on they joined us in Odessa 
and we all came back to Odessa. 

That summer while we were in Kiev we suddenly learned that the Tsar 
and his entire family had been brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks in the city 
of Ekaterinburg in the Urals _/_17 July 1918/. That news spread like wildfire 
and created a tremendous emotional outburst of compassion for the murdered 


family, because not only the Tsar was executed but the whole family, the Tsar, 
Tsarina, four daughters and the boy who was heir to the throne. Soon afterward, 
in another town not far from Ekaterinburg, called Alapaevsk, most of the grand 
dukes and grand duchesses were killed. Altogether in the span of two or three 
days nineteen members of the Romanov family were killed. 

It was a terrific shock for all of us and I remember the solemn funeral 
service which was held in the most ancient Russian church in Kiev, St. Sophia. 
This was the most famous church in Russia because it was the first Christian 
church, built in the 10th century. I went to that funeral service, and there 
was such a terrific crowd that I thought I would be trampled to death, 
because the passages in that old church were narrow and the pressure of the 
crowd was tremendous. It was a very solemn funeral liturgy. When we emerged 
from the church I wore, as did many other Russian patriots, the emperor's 
initials on a black ribbon. Outside the church some people attacked us for 
this; they started fist fights, but German troops appeared immediately and 
stopped the commotion. Later we learned that the Bolsheviks when murdering the 
Tsar didn't rely on the Russians but invited German PW's because it was found 
that somebody scribbled on the wall of the place where they were killed a little 
excerpt from Heinrich Heine: 

Welt Tsar was in selbiger Nacht vom seinem Knechte umgebracht. 

We returned to Odessa and toward the end of the summer it was 1918 
the situation gradually started to deterioriate. The Germans were having 
reverses on the western front and the Soviets started to put pressure on the 
Ukraine. There were some mutinies among the German troops; things were not 
looking so well; at the same time life in Odessa continued to go full blast. 
Our apartment was crowded because the Gerasimovs joined us and also my other 
cousin Constantine (Kostia) and my grandmother my father's mother. So we 


really lived in crowded conditions, but we were happy because it was all one 
family. Also the family of the Ulozovskii' s, that is, Colonel Ulozovskii and 
his wife and their children Galina and Andrew; they moved to Odessa but they 
rented an apartment in another part of town. They left Chernigov because con 
ditions there were already becoming unsettled. So that was how events developed, 

We used that time of respite, that quiet, to do lots of things. I went 
to the theater and opera, I continued my fencing, I played the piano, and my 
father played the piano; we had some nice parties together; everything was all 
right but by the end of the summer the situation became more and more tense. 

There was a tremendous black market in Odessa. People who escaped 
Soviet occupied territories were most of them without any cash but they 
brought many valuable things, as the Gerssimovs did, jewelry etc. Thnre 
were two famous cafes, the Franconi and Robinat in which these deals were 
done, in which jewelry was sold, foreign currency was bought, etc. People 
were gradually thinking of leaving Odessa and going somewhere else. Some 
people even tried to get to the United States at that time. 

Everything continued that way until the fall, when the changeover 
occurred. On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed on the Western 
front and that was the end of the German empire and the beginning of the 
collapse of the German army. Immediately rioting started everywhere in the 
Ukraine and the communists rushed into the vacuum. By that time the Russian 
White army in the areas of the Kuban and Don cassacks had strengthened because 
many officers had managed to get there through the Ukraine. I was seriously 
considering leaving for the army but my parents persuaded me to stay for just 
one more week and finish at the gymnasium and get my diploma. However I had 
volunteered for an an ti- communist military organization in Odessa and was 
ready for any assignment in the city. That time had come when the Germans 


suddenly withdrew and the allied troops had not come. They came a little 
later French, Greeks, and some British. Well, for that few days probably a 
week or so, there was again no order in the city, and then our paramilitary 
organization was called upon to seize the most important points in the city. 
I was called to get into a guard unit to guard the city telephone exchange so 
I spent about three days on guard duty there, where I learned quite well the 
mastery of the rifle, etc. Because I didn't have a uniform, I just had a 
belt over my coat. With my high school cap, I was already a soldier. Then 
a French battleship came, French troops entered Odessa, and a new era started. 
Instead of German occupation it was a benevolent French occupation and the grace 
period within the eye of the hurricane was extended for another few months. 

With the French occupation and arrival of some Greek troops with help of 
White army detachments we managed to defend Odessa from the communist troops 
rushing everywhere from the north. However, the French didn't have much desire 
to fight for the protection of Russia since they considered that since the 
war on the western front was already over they were victorious, so why lose 
lives in faraway Russia? So they were mostly supplying us, the Whites, with 
munitions, rifles, etc. They brought some little mini- tanks to Odessa and 
when the tanks were sent to the front and were attacked by Red troops the 
French just abandoned the tanks and retreated, and for the first time the 
Soviets managed to get French tanks. It was very discouraging but life in 
Odessa continued to be on a feverish scale; there was a continuous carnival. 
There were some mysteries, for instance, a very well known film star Vera 
Kholodnaia was suddenly found poisoned in her apartment and there were rumors 
that she was spying against the French. I don't know the whole story, but 
it created a great sensation. 

There was an abundance of newspapers at that time; we were pleased by 


that and the winter wasn't too harsh. During that winter my mother started to 
work on a committee for reception of former Russian row's who were coming from 
Germany. We invited some of the released officer POW's into our house and it 
was pathetic to look at these people and see how they enjoyed the warmth and 
hospitality of a family life after the dreadful time spent in German captivity. 

Everything worked alright, however. The Gerasimovs were determined that 
if the situation deteriorated further they would leave Russia, and my uncle 
decided that he would go to Germany, because he didn't care much for the 
French because they had betrayed Russia in time of peril and he had good 
connections with the Germans from long before World War I. It had a very high 
German decoration received during the visit of Wilhelm II to Russia when he 
was attached by the Tsar to a guard for Wilhelm. 

At the same time the Bolshevik troops were approaching the city, there 
was some rioting on the French battleships. On one, the WALDECK ROUSSEAU, one 
beautiful day, a red flag appeared, an indication that there was a mutiny 
there, and suddenly we began to hear bombardment close by with artillary. I 
wanted to go to the front, to the White army and start fighting the Reds, 
but I still had one more year of school. In order to graduate I had to stay 
through the winter of 1919. The Gerasamovs left by ship. There were thunder 
clouds on the horizon and I heard the thunder claps in the distance mixed 
with artillery gunfire. When I realized that in a day or two the Bolsheviks 
would be in Odessa again and I cried. I had not cried for a long time, but 
that day I cried bitterly because I had managed neither to get to the White 
army or to escape from communism, and I felt in my bones that this time the 
communists would bring something very bad to our family. Well, that was true. 

On 6 April 1919 the eye of the hurricane passed and the Bolsheviks 
returned to Odessa. I will never forget that terrible day. At once there 


started a terrible era all over again, only now they came much better organized. 
Their first act was to establish the dreaded CheKa which was later known to the 
western world as the NKVD, GPU, MVD etc. At that time it was the CheKa which 
stands for Chrezvychainaia kommissiia po borbe s kontrevoliutsiei, sabotazhem, 
i spekulaatsiei (Extraordinary Commission for the Suppression of counter- 
Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation). This Cheka occupied two buildings on 
the main square in Odessa called Ekaterininskii Plashchad 1 (Catherine's 
Square). They seized for that purpose two buildings of two rich merchants, 
Levashov and Zhdanov. These two buildings faced each other across the square. 
In the middle of it stood the proud monument of Catherine the Great. That 
monument was immediately boarded up and surmountes with a red star. I counted 
the days until my schooling would be completed. I had to finish school, but 
finally the day came when the course was shortened and instead of June the 
classes were dismissed at the beginning of May. Of course there was no 
graduation in the old style; there were no fancy diplomas such as another 
generation of students had received from the gymnasium. Instead we received 
only a little certificate stating that we had completed prescribed courses of 
instruction in the gymnasium and that we were permitted to continue our 
education at the university. That was all. There was no gathering or any 
ceremony; each student merely went to the office to pick up his certificate. 

At this junction of my story the scenario has to be changed. It will be 
scenario 4 in which my active fight against the Bolshevism started. Since 
before the Revolution I had belonged to a clandestine an ti- communist and anti- 
Bolshevik organization called a popular state council. This organization 
provided help to the White army. Cadres of the White army were coming out of 
that organization, and that organization was active in preparing some printed 


materials which I and my friends-two are still alive, one in Paris and one in 
New York-were distributing, workers, sometimes at the risk of being beaten 
up or even killed. This publication was called Nabat. (Alarm). There were 
quite a few numbers of this publication in the form of a newspaper still in 
our house, so with the arrival of the Bolsheviks I hastened to bury them under 
the wood and coal in our wood cellar in our house. I believe if somebody ever 
digs in the earth there he will probably find some of these publications. Our 
neighbors had to give half of their apartment to a Red commander. Anyhow we 
all felt that something was going to happen at any time. There were arrests 
of many people and what was particularly ominous they started to arrest all 
judges. As I said, it was a fortunate thing that my father was only attached 
to the local Odessa court; his original court was in Poland so the people from 
the Cheka didn't quite know about him. However quite a few of my father's 
friends were arrested and disappeared behind the walls of the Cheka. More 
and more rumors began to spread about the executions. One has to remember 
that in the spring of 1919 the White armies solidified the front against the 
Bolsheviks and started a victorious march against the Bolsheviks in the general 
direction of Moscow. After capture of the city of Kharkov by White armies 
the Red Terror was proclaimed by Lenin and Trotsky. Violence and mass murders 
started immediately in the territories under Bolshevik control. Red terror 
meant only one thing, that there was no court procedure of any kind, that the 
members certain Bolsheviks class considered hostile to the Bolsheviks were 
physically annihilated, destroyed or shot, just in pursuance of that Red 
Terror, without any trial, in order to instil terror into the population. 
Gradually this information started to appear daily in the Bolshevik newspapers 
which were posted from the first days that they were in power in Odessa on the 
walls of buildings at the intersection of the main streets, so everyday we 


we were 8oing to the Pla ces where the ne wspapers were posted and read . 
with the usual preamble "Last night in the _ of ^ Red ^^^ ^ foiiowing 
P eo ple were executed..." and then follow ed the U.t of peop le who had been shot, 
and more and more familiar names appeared on that terrible list. 

And then one day the Bolsheviks announced the collection of surplus goods 
from the bourgeoisie. Columns of trucks were driven through the best areas 
of the city occupied by the bourgeoisie, They stopped in front of the buildings, 
and Red soldiers came and went through all the properties of the people, They 
were looking for such things as shirts, bed sheets, suits, etc. so that if 
somebody had five or six shirts they would take four and leave two. It was 
just pillaging of goods, and since it was unexpected they came across many ^ 
military uniforms and immediately searched for the officer members of the 
family started and it usually ended in the arrest and probably execution of 
the family where military uniforms and any kind of equipment was found. 

Again in spite of the fact that it was summer there was a shortage of 
food, because everything was taken by the Bolshevik commissars, or bosses, in 
the Red Army. I started to work as a ditchdigger near the area where we lived. 
It was an interesting crowd of differs, because already warm weather had 
settled down in Odessa and we were digging a long ditch leading from somewhere 
to nowhere I don't know who invented that idea. It was a good place because 
we were getting some money for our efforts. It was tiring work and I know 
that among the ditchdiggers there were many people hiding in that capacity of 
simple workers. There were many officers and people like me who didn't want 
to be seen too much around the town. 

And then something inevitable happened to our family. The whole thing 
started with this. Even before the Bolshevik coming my uncle, Colonel 
Ulozovskii, who left the newly built house in Chernigov, came to Odessa. 


They settled down, and he managed in company with some other people to open a 
little restaurant. Actually it was a kind of teahouse, where some food could 
be procured, and that little place on Pushkin street became a place where we 
could get together. Our family was visiting there every day because there was 
a chance to eat a little better, and many friends were dropping in. We were 
oblivious to the danger that this gathering could invoke. One day my sister 
and I walked a long distance the streetcars were not running to the center 
of the city to the library to change books. Coming back from the library we 
decided to drop into that restaurant, which was a few steps down from the 
street level, and when we arrived it was already too late. I saw there was a 
man sitting in the darkness of the entrance, quite unfamiliar, and I saw that 
he had a pistol on his belt, and when I stopped and tried to turn back he 
shouted "No, you come in, right in!" So my sister and I walked in and there 
we saw quite a few people already were there, and there were Cheka members with 
rifles and handgrenades and pistols all around and just calling us in and asking 
me to empty all my pockets, etc. 

Stupidly enough I carried with me a little badge of that clandestine 
organization. I don't know why probably because I was too young and inexperience 
I realized that if they saw that I was finished, so while they were still asking 
other people to empty their pockets of everything into envelopes and sealing 
those envelopes and writing the names I told one of the guards there that I 
had to go to the bathroom. He said allright and he came with me to the door, 
I wrapped the badge in paper and flushed it down. Fortunately it was a small 
one and went through, so at least I got rid of the most incriminating thing 

I had in my possession. 

That was about noon time and so more and more people who usually were 
coming in were immediately arrested on the spot and we all had to remain in 


that little restaurant. Around about 4 o'clock my father and mother came in 
because they were anxious to find out what had happened to me and my sister 
because we had not come home, so they decided to drop in to the usual place 
where all members of the family used to come and they were arrested too. And 
then the whole family of the Ulozovskiis were arrested. Even the man who 
delivered some melons or something came in, bringing the produce to this 
restaurant and he was arrested. 

Around 7 o'clock in the evening it was still bright as it was in mid 
summer, finally the whole crowd was brought out and marched to the building of 
the cheka. Altogether we were about 40 men women and youths like me and my 
sister. We were marched through the middle of the street, surrounded by the 
Cheka guards with rifles and drawn pistols. People stopped and looked, and I 
saw some familiar faces with terror in their eyes. Finally we came to one of 
the buildings of the Cheka, the former mansion of Zhdanov. We entered that 
and were immediately brought to the lower floor of the building and packed into 
a room, which was apparently some kind of music room because there was a piano, 
but there was no other furniture. So each of us sat on the floor, somebody 
came to the window. There were three doors and a window looked into the inner 
courtyard. There we saw many people with pistols and rifles. At that moment 
we saw two soldiers with rifles bring into the courtyard from another side of 
the building a man and a woman, both wearing military coats. Then they their 
hands were tied behind them put them against the wall and they were shot before 
our eyes, of all of us looking through the window at that scene. That was 
terrible, people dying before our eyes. It is hard to believe that you are 
seeing something like that. It was already getting late and gradually one by 
one the people from that room were called out and taken somewhere by the guard 
upstairs. My father's name was called and he disappeared, then my sister, my 


mother and by around 3 o'clock in the morning half of the people had gone 
somewhere upstairs to an unknown destiny. 

At last my name was called. A man with a rifle accompanied me and we 
went two flights upstairs and entered a room; there was a little anteroom 
with a larger room. In that first little room there was a bed on which a 
sailor, all wrapped up with machine gun belts around his body, and with rifle 
and hand grenades, was resting. I was pushed with the butt of the rifle into 
the room. It hurt and I almost fell flat on my face, but I entered. At the 
table there sat five people. You should have seen their faces animal hatred 
was in them. They looked at me and I knew that we were enemies. It was going 
to be a struggle of life and death. They opened the envelope with my name. 
As I said, I had managed to get rid of the badge, but I wasn't sure what was 
in my billfold. Then they started cross examining me. The first question 
was 'You are a military cadet, of military cadet school. 1 

I said 'No, if you know who I am you wouldn't ask that silly question; 
I just graduated a month and a half ago from the 3rd gymnasium in Odessa.' 

'Oh no, we know,' they said 'and by the way, you also belong to the 
People's State Council.' 

I felt that my heart stopped for a second; I only hoped that I didn't 
turn pale. I said with a firm voice 'Certainly not; I don't belong to any 

organization. ' 

'Ah,' he said, 'so you want to tell us that you are not a member of that 
organization, you know, you are on the list of all the members, so why do 
you deny that? We have the list and your name is on it. ' 

After the question whether I was a member of the clandestine organization, 
which shook me and I answered no, the interrogation ended abruptly, with some 
threats and they said 'You will see what we know about you,' and they with that 


final threat thev called the guard> uho 

I cae into a lar g e roo.. Everythlng _ . tMg> 

drea,. I MgIne belng brought 

Wl or livin g room of that 

and couches and everything Bere all covera( , 

covered the l arge ulndows . I a s to ld t o sit in a chalr . 

that big roon . THe guard who brought ^ ^ ^ chair and ^^ ^ ^ ^ 

that led somewhere, not the one he had brought through. The door opened 
into a seller roo m in which I found that there was a desk, and apparently that 
was another interrogation roo.. I was tired, .y back hurt after that blow by 
the butt of the rifle, and I sat with heavy heart in that soft chair looking 
in bewilderment on the heavy carpet and trying to figure out how it all 

Then I heard voices in the next room behind the closed door. And I could 
hear that an interrogation was going on, I strained my ears and then I realized 
that it was my father who was being interrogated. Apparently he was being 
questioned by only one man because I heard only the voice of that man and the 
responses of my father. I could distinguish practically every word that he 
was saying. He was being questioned persistently about his serving as a 
district attorney in the past and a presiding judge in criminal court, that he 
was involved in court procedure for political crimes, etc. I was immensely 
relieved to hear that he was denying all that, for he knew very well that his 
personal dossier which would provide the Cheka people with his background informal 
had never reached Odessa. He was denying everything, saying only that he was 
always involved in civil matters in the court. I was hoping that he would be 
brought in the room where I was, but then the interrogation ended and he 
apparently was taken away. 


I was completely exhausted from physical and mental strain and I 
apparently fell asleep. And then something happened that is hard to describe 
in our present day rational world. It went something beyond any of my 
experiences before or after. I suddenly felt some kind of indescribable 
fear; I was afraid of something I couldn't explain; but the feeling of fear 
was immense and intense, and I finally opened my eyes and almost touching my 
nose with his nose there was a man who was peering into my eyes. I have 
never had any experience so dreadful as looking into the dark intense eyes 
of that strange man who was so intensely looking into me. He may have been a 
hypnotist. It was fear which goes beyond a regular physical experience, it was 
rather mystical, something not of this world. I didn't know what to do. The 
man then stood up, turned around and walked out. I was shaken completely by 
this terrifying experience, I could not fall asleep again. 

Then I heard a voice in the room next door and there was shouting and 
cries and I heard that a human being was being beaten and the door opened and 
I saw a terrible scene. A man all covered with blood was chased through the 
room in which I was sitting by a Cheka man who was beating him over the head 
with his pistol, so hard that I thought he would crack his skull, and shouting 
obscenities, and going through that room passed the guard into another place. 
That was another shock of that strange and unreal night in the Cheka. After 
a short while there was again questioning behind that door and again with lots 
of noise three armed soldiers brought in two girls in long military coats and 
with shaven heads. I didn't know what to think of it. The soldiers were very 
rough with these girls, they threw them onto a couch and then ordered them to 
sit there quietly. They had also been beaten over the head and they were trying 
to keep the blood from running down their faces. I looked at them and they 
looked at me; of course we couldn't say a word because when the guard saw that 


I wanted to approach them he raised 

**** OQ.O.U iou sit down or 
11 kill you. 1 So I sat down in the soft comfort 
those two unhappy girls. Who 

as en, nerhaps trying to escape fro. the BolsheviUs and were captured-I don't 
know, so we were sitting there, and daylight was seen coding through hehlnd 
the heavy curtains, and then a ew thing, suddenly one of the curtains oved 
and fro. the window sill behind a young fellow with a rifle cane up-^aybe 
he had been sleeping there- a nd ce out into the roc* and pulled apart the 
curtains .nd through the window I saw the red star attached to the covered 
statue of Catherine the Great. That was the morning of the first day In the 


The girls were taken away in a short while and then a man-one of the 
five who had interrogated me-came, a slip of paper in his hand, and told me 
'Get ready, we will go.' Where, I didn't dare to ask. He had an automatic 
pistol in his hand and was prodding me with this to move faster. So I went 
with him downstairs and we came to the entrance of the building. He showed 
a slip of paper to the guard at the entrance and then took me across the big 
square to the other building of the Cheka, the Levashov building. That 
building was transformed into a jail, and I was brought to the second floor 
into a room which was already equipped with all of the trimmings of a jail. 
There were heavy locks on the door and a guard standing in front of the door. 
Again this man showed the slip of paper to the guard in front of the door, 
opened the door and they pushed me inside. There were 10 or 15 people in 
that room, all of them were much older than I; I didn't recognize any of the 
people who were there. There was no furniture, only one big can, which was 
used for daily toilet routine and smelled terrible. That was all there was 
in that room. The others were afraid to ask me questions because they probably 


didn't know whether somebody in the room was a Cheka plant, there to listen 
to any conversation. They only asked me 'When were you arrested?' I replied, 
'Yesterday', and when I asked some question about food and washing and toilet 
they said 'The toilet is here, in this can.' Twice a day they brought us some 
kind of terrible smelling soup and a piece of bread and tea in a can, which 
was actually hot water, and that was all. 

I stayed in that cell for three days and then the same man who had 
interrogated me came in and called me out into the hallway, then brought me 
out into the square and told me 'We are letting you go, but we are continuing 
our investigation because we think that all your family were involved in a 
military plot to overthrow the communist power.' He said 'a Belorussian plot 1 ; 
I had heard that there were some anti-communist forces organized by people of 
that nationality. To me it didn't mean anything as I didn't know anything 
about that then, so I went home and was immensely relieved to find that my 
mother and sister were also home already, but not father. Father remained 
there. And interestingly enough, on comparing notes with my mother I 
discovered that she had also had the same terrifying experience with that 
mysterious man who also was looking into her eyes and she said that she had 
experienced nothing more terrible in her long life. I don't know what it 
was, but I am convinced that there was a supernatural force within that evil 
man who looked at me and my mother. 

The red terror continued in ever increasing violent form. The lists of 
people being executed grew larger and larger every day, and now the most 
terrible thing was that we were very much concerned for father. It was 
impossible to ask anyone in the Cheka about him; they wouldn't even let you 
come close to the Cheka building. The only thing that we learned was that 
he was incarcerated in the same building where I had spent three days. 


Then we learned that it was permitted to brlng food to tho8e 

were incarcerated because the Cheka didn't provide enough for their exlstence . 
So every day, with whatever was possible> ^ _ ^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ 

of ersatz coffee and so me m il k , . we put everything ^ & ^ 
a piece of cloth-put father's name on a piece of paper attached to it, and 
would take that to the Cheka building where all the people were sitting. 
There was a cordon of guards standing in front of the building who would 
check all of these things which were brought the prisoners. And it happened 
several times-I remember the first time; I was ready to kill the man who did 
that to us. It was so difficult to get any food to send to father but we 
brought what we could, and the guard said 'Open your bag to show what is '^ 
there. ' So we showed him there was an apple, a piece of bread and a bottle 
of coffee with milk, and he then rejected the bag with such force that 
everything fell down. The bottle was broken, the apple rolled on the street, 
and he stepped on the bread. You can imagine how I felt at that moment. At 
that time I swore that if I lived through that the day would come when I would 
see to it that the Bolsheviks would pay for what they had done to us and to 
my father. 

Every morning at six o'clock the newspapers were posted at the intersection 
and every morning my mother and Tanya and I were going out to read the list of 
people executed the previous night. One man who was released from the Cheka 
prison came to visit us, and we learned from him with whom father was sitting; 
he had been in the same room with him. There were Nedzvetsky a Warsaw judge, 
a very good friend of our family, Demianovich, another judge, a couple of 
people from the region near Odessa, the famous Falz-Feen who had a great 
estate, some kind of zoo in the open area, which still exists even now under 


the Bolsheviks, and Remich, Fatz, people of German descent who had big 
estates in the Odessa region, a couple of mil men etc., so we knew the list 
of people who were in the cell with father, etc. And one day we came across 
the name of Nedzvetskii that dear friend of ours. I looked at mother and knew 
how she felt, because he was from the same cell in which father was incarcerated. 
Then a few days later another man who was with father was mentioned, Emenovich, 
another judge, so again we were terrified, but still my father's name didn't 

We tried everything possible to save my father's life. I have told of the 
priest, an American citizen who came from the United States and was the priest 
of our church, and had some influence among the workers in Odessa he was 
working hard to save father's life. And then there was a strange man, a navy 
officer, who was friendly to our family and at the same time obviously had 
some connections with the Cheka; he also promised to try to save him. Then 
we managed to find a lawyer of the court, who knew father, who was a 
revolutionary and I am sure was also a high ranking Bolshevik of that time. 
He kind of esteemed my father, and we approached him; we were trying everything. 

There is an interesting footnote to these people who were with my father 
in the Cheka prison. During our trip to Europe in 1970, among other places 
we visited was the duchy of Liechtenstein, and in the capital city Vaduz, 
the representative of the Duke of Liechtenstein who was meeting all the 
tourists there, was announced as a Falz-Fein. I asked our guide to ask him 
whether his father was ever in Odessa and in Cheka prison. The man came 
rushing to me in the bus and embraced me and said 'Yes, how do you know 
about that?' And I said 'My father was with your father in the same cell. 1 
He was so excited and so pleased so he gave me a book in which he describes 
that estate of his family, which was called Askania Nova, of which the 
greatest attraction was an outdoor zoo. 


Chapter 18 Scenario 4 

Thus in the summer of 1919, our family was taken by the Cheka; my 
mother, sister and I released, but father still remained there, where we 
were every day afraid for his life. And it took a very strange, dramatic 
event to save him. As I mentioned before, I was working during the day as 
a ditchdigger in order to get bread. Also I continued wherever possible my 
fencing academy activities and got my fencing masters degree that summer. 
I was tired every night, and one nightit was a very hot night I pulled 
my bed out in the middle of the huge living room where there was more breeze. 
I opened all the windows, and fell asleep. I was awakened by a bright light 
shining into my face, and realized that someone had switched on the large 
chandelier under which I was sleeping. I jumped up, and opened my eyes and I 
saw several men in the living room and heard voices in the other rooms. A 
big man in sailors uniform with a rifle was looking at me. He said 'Oh! I 
see that you are well tanned apparently you work out of doors. That's good.' 
I realized that we had been invaded by the Cheka people for some reason. In 
charge of the party that came into our house, accompanied by the janitor of 
our house, there was a man who fit very well the idea of a bad man in western 
movies that I saw in the United States many years later. He was dressed all 
in black and had a black hat. People addressed him as Comrade Abash, and he 
was in command of that operation in our house. He ordered everyone to get 
dressed and come into the living room, so my mother, my sister and grandmother 
came in. And this comrade Abash addressed us saying 'You are accused by the 
Cheka by us of signalling to the British and French warships that are on 
the Black Sea in front of Odessa. My mother said, 'How could you be so stupid 
as to dream up such a stupid accusation? how could we signal?' 

He said, 'Lady, you had better watch your tongue. You know who you 


are talking to. I represent the Cheka. ' 

She said, 'I don't care; when I hear someone talking nonsense I cannot 
keep quiet. ' 

He said, 'Lady, why all this excitement; there are probably only a few 
hours left in your life, so why get excited?' It was a threat. 

When I heard that we were accused of signalling British and French 
vessels in the Balck Sea I suddenly shuddered when I realized that here in 
the living room on one of the tables was lying a book that I brought with me 
from Yalta when I was a junior member of the yacht club, called the Sailors' 
Manual. I loved everything about sailing, sail boats, yachts, etc. I 
remembered that somewhere in that book there was an international signal 
chart for maritime vessels. 'My God,' I thought, 'if they ever open that book 
and see that chart, we are finished.' But they never paid any attention to 
the book; they were looking for weapons and for some evidence that we were 
signalling. As evidence they triumphantly brought in a little red lantern 
which my father and I used for developing photographs, the light of which 
probably couldn't be seen more than ten feet away it was so weak. They also 
found a so-called ultra-violet bulb in a device that my father had used to 
treat his sciatica. The brightness of this light was absolutely minimal; 
it too couldn't be seen more than a few feet away. As a third piece of 
evidence they took our telephone apparatus. So with these three pieces of 
"evidence" the said 'Well, we have all the evidence that we need.' Then my 
mother again started to talk indignantly to Comrade Abash 'There is no end to 
your stupidity,' she said, 'you cannot signal with this light to the house 

across the street.' 

He said, 'Lady, you have talked too much already and as I said, don't 
waste your time, there isn't much time for you to live.' They led my mother 


downstairs, put her in a carriage and departed for the 

We, my sister, grandmother and myself were appalled; 
to do, what to say. As soon a H n u 

an ho apparently had .. connection Ith the Che k a, that foe r navy officer 

ith so.e sort of dou bl e connections. to d I tola hi., 'Listen tth at happened...' 

'Oh', he said, 'that's too bad; this is serious, but !'ll see .hat can 

be done. ' 

So we were waiting in despair to hear something. I went to the Cheka 
building but they wouldn't even let me approach that building; it was all 
cordoned by guards. When we went on a recent trip to the Soviet Union I had 
my picture taken in fron of that building. Instead of the monument to ,:, 
Catherine the Great there is now a monument to the sailors of the battleship * 
Potemkin > and J had a Picture taken of me projected against that dreadful 
building of the Cheka. 

So we didn't know what to do. And then, around noontime the doorbell 
rang we opened the door and what a joy, both mother and father walked in. 
'What happened?' we asked. 

Then mother told the whole story. She was brought into the Cheka, she 
was kept in a room where she was interrogated continuously about many things, 
about her brother, the colonel, but never was asked about her husband, my 
father. She was also interrogated about signalling the naval vessels in the 
Black Sea. Again she gave it to them, she told them it was the greatest 
stupidity, and apparently she irritated the interrogator so much that finally 
they told her 'You know what, we are going to take you to the president of 
the Cheka. You are too violent and we cannot permit that from members of the 
bourgeoisie. ' 

So shortly before noontime they took her upstairs to the office of 



that terrible man Sadzhaev, president of the Cheka in Odessa, responsible for 
thousands upon thousands of lives. When she entered his office he looked 
at her; he didn't offer her to sit down so she saw a chair and sat down. He 
then kind of laughed and said 'Oh, I forgot that in your bourgeois society a 
chair should be offered to a lady'. 

'Yes,' she said, 'it should be.' 

He said, 'Watch your tongue, lady.' 

She said 'I have had enough of everything, so I don't care what happens 
to me. I am surprised at the incredible stupidy of your agent who burst into 
our apartment with such a silly accusation that we were signalling the ships 
of Breat Britain and France from the balcony of our apartment from which you 
can barely see a little bit of the Black Sea. And they took the red developing 
light which we used for photography and the ultra-violent light used for 
treatment of sciatica. Is that a serious matter? It is laughable stupidity!' 

He said 'That's enough lady, you can go, you are free.' 

Then in this moment of excitement and despair she told him 'No, I am 
not going to leave this place without my husband who has been sitting already 
for over two months without trial. I don't want to leave without him.' 

'What's his name?' he asked. 

'His name is Paul Albov. ' 

'Who is he? is he a general? 1 

'No, he is a judge. ' 

And he said 'Allright, lady, I have had enough of you. Here, take your 
husband.' And he pulled out a slip of paper and wrote on it "Release Citizen 
Paul Albov and Citizeness Olga Albov. 1 

She couldn't believe her ears, she dashed out, but the guard said, 
'No that is not so simple; certain formalities must be worked out.' So they 


went to an office, some kind of special document was orepared for the release 
of my father, and they walked out free from that dreaded Cheka and came home. 

Father told me many stories about his incarceration by the Cheka, but I 
was shocked by his appearance. He had been a life-loving man, with lots of 
energy and a ready smile, he was a sportsman, he played tennis, and he loved 
rowing. Now when I looked at him I realized that something had happened to 
him that completely changed him. Instead of the sparkle of life, his eyes were 
dull, with some sort of sadness that never left his expression, lie looked as 
if sorceone''had switched a light off inside of him; he was awfully thin and 
awfully sick. He said he had a bad case of hernia because he said 'They took 
us to the railroad station one day where we had to unload heavy sacks of 
potatoes.' That was too much for him and he developed that hernia. 

Well, at that time unfortunately we couldn't even celebrate that most 
wonderful occasion because there was not much food, so we just had our usual 
little something to eat. 

And then another thing happened. Around four or five o'clock in the 
afternoon that strange character, that former navy officer came, saying 'Well, 
I heard that you are free from the Cheka, but I came with a warning; you must 
leave this house immediately and go into hiding, but it ie impossible to 
arrange everything immediately, so I will take you to my apartment where you 
will be relatively safe, until I can arrange for a carriage which will take 
you to one of the villages near Odessa. That village is called Lutzdorf. It 
is a former German colony, of Germans who came to Russia in the time of 
Catherine the Great. I will arrange for vou to stay there as long as 

necessary. ' 

': tf% 




Chapter 19 Scenario 4 

Just as we were warned by that mysterious navy man, at 2 o'clock after 
midnight, on the night of father's departure to the German village of 
Lutzsdorf in the suburbs of Odessa there was a knock at our door and again a 
group of Cheka men appeared and asked about my father. 'He is not here,' we 

'How is he not here? He was just released from Cheka yesterday. 1 

'Yes', we said, 'he took a train and went to Kiev. 1 

'With whom is he going to stay?' 

'We don't know; he promised to let us know.' 

They were very annoyed, but didn't do anything to us, and left. 

So father was safe, for the time being. In the meantime the secret 
anti-Bolshevist organization started its activity. Rumors of impending landing 
of White troops in the Odessa region were increasing. There was nervousness 
and semi-panic among the Bolsheviks which was obvious to all of us. 

Through a courier, I was called to attend a secret meeting of our 
organization. This time was the first that I met the head of the organization, 
Colonel Sablin. We met in a private apartment on Marozlievskaia Street facing 
Aleksandrovsk Park. At that meeting Colonel Sablin told us that the landing 
of the White troops was inevitable and would take place in about a week, around 
the 7th or 8th of August, and we must be prepared to start an uprising, or if 
we didn't have enough armed people we must at least see to it that just before 
the landing starts we would try to capture the murderous members of the Cheka. 

We were particularly interested in capturing the executioners and of 
course the President of the Cheka, Sadzhaev, and a sinister figure about whom 
we had heard from some people who managed to escape the Cheka, the Cheka girl, 
Dora. She was obviously a psychopathic type of woman, constantly under the 


influence of cocaine and other drugs and her pleasure was to kill people in a 
very strange manner. She would sit on a chair and then her collaborators 
would force a man to crawl under the chair in which she was sitting, holding 
a pistol and smoking a cigarette. And the moment the head of the man crawling 
under the chair would appear in front of her she would shoot him in the back 
of his head and then extinguish her cigarette in the blood of the wound. We 
were very much interested in capturing this monster. 

Speaking of weapons, some people said that they had rifles and pistols. 
I had a browning piston which I got at the beginning of the revolution and it 
was stored secretly in the attic of our house. I had enough ammunition, so 
I said 'I have a pistol.' 

Around the 7th of August, by the old calendar, about the 20th, with the 
new, we heard artillery fire and we knew that the landing operat-ons had 
started. We gathered again at the command of Col. Sabin in that apartment 
on Mardzlievskaia Street and then we came out, not dressed in uniform but 
with our weapons and were stopping the cars in which the Bolsheviks were 
fleeing the city. We captured quite a number of them and were bringing them 
to the apartment and putting htem in the cellar. Finally the glorious day of 
liberation came and the White army troops marched into the town practically 
without any firing. All the resistance was made in the outskirts but in town 
there was no resistance. Jubilantly we greeted our liberators, Colonel Sablin 
immediately joined and reported on what we had done in arresting the members 
of the Cheka. 

The landing force was very small, about 3,000 men. We were told to 
spread the rumors everywhere that it was 30,000 and apparently that made an 
effect on the Soviets, who had fled. 

Women and girls were bringing flowers and throwing them at the coming 


White a^y so ldi ers, klsslng thra> 
services . rted . A11 sovlet propaganda> 
Emotions started riding very high. 

in a day or . . had jubilatlon , 
from Lutzdorf, which as the flrst place 

ere S o pleased to see hi* safe and alive. Hoover, as I said before, the 
sadness never left his eyes, which he had had ever since being in rtal 

danger every night in the Cheka. 

The White army immediately established a counter-intelligence outfit 
which was placed in the buildings formerly occupied by the Cheka, and since 
I was familiar with those buildings I was called upon to serve as a guard 
with the counter intelligence. This started my regular military career in 
the White army, and therefore I will call the period from that time on a 
new scenario of my life. 

Scenario 5 

I didn't have a uniform; instead I attached an insignia, a cockade, to 
my university cap which I had bought after completing my studies in the 
gymnasium, since I was supposed to go to university later, and then on the 
sleeve of my shirt which I wore with a belt a Russian type shirt my mother 
sewed the White army insignia, that is, ribbons with the national colors, 
white, blue and red, a triangle on the left and side sleeves. 

Armed with my Browning automatic pistol I reported for duties with the 
counter-intelligence outfit. First of all I must describe my impressions of 
the building in which my family was incarcerated and what was left there by 
the communists. It is hard to describe the horror of that building. When 
we entered the courtyard there was a pile of bloody garments, of people who 


were apparently killed and their garments taken off before placing them in 
mass graves. It was a stinking pile because of the blood. Then we went 
carefully to the cellar of that building where we knew that the executions ,. - 
had taken place. The stench was unbearable. The cellar had been used for the 
storage of coal and wood. They had cleared all this out and loosened the 
next to the last step leading to the cellar floor. When the victim was 
descending into the dark cellar accompanied by the Cheka men he would step on 
that unsafe step, which would yield, and start falling, and at that moment 
the Cheka people would shoot him in the back and he would fall bleeding to 
the ground. Usually there was a second shot to make sure that the man was 
killed, and then he was left there dying and bleeding until the time came 
to drag the bodies from that cellar, pile them into a truck and take them 
out of town for the mass burial trenches. Then in that building there was a 
semicircular concrete garage on the level of the courtyard which was made 
to facilitate washing cars. They were shooting people in that garage and when 
we entered it the wall was pockmarked with bullet holes, splattered with blood, 
dried brain matter and some hair which showed that people were just put 
against those walls and shot there. Then the drainage for water used in 
washing the cars was full of dried blood, it was also stinking to high heaven 
in that garage. I was shaken up; I knew of the evil and bestality of the 
Bolshevik regime but had not realized all the gruesome details. 

We went to all the rooms of several apartments in this house. One 
apartment was filled almost to the walls with the property taken from the 
houses of the people who had been executed by the Cheka. It was an incredible 
sight; there was everything there were cameras, a large number of officer 
uniforms, some of them parade uniformsthere was everything, it was loot 
which filled up an eight-room apartment all the way to the ceiling. Then we 


on we 

came across a kitch en which had apparently 

was the most terribl e thing Z had seen; 

gloves. We had heard rum ors of thls but we had ^ lmaglned 

But it was. There was dried up skin fro, the hands of victim. Later 
were told by witnesses of this torture. People were brought there and 

forced to put their hands in boiling water, then when the skin was completely 
boiled the hands were skinned and it was called communist gloves. We saw a 
couple of dried up gloves like that and it made me sick at my stomach. This 
kind of thing that I saw with my eyes that I lived through made me more 
than ever an enemy of that regime which permitted bestiality of such caliber 
in my country, Russia. 

The daily regime was very rigorous. With the arrival of the White army 
it immediately swelled with a tremendous number of volunteers from Odessa who 
decided that they had better join the White army than to again be victims of 
the Reds. The White army thereupon managed to spread out around Odessa and 
link up with troops occupying the southern part of Russia, and that immediately 
relieved the food situation. We started to get fowl, chickens, etc., and it 
was so good to see how Father particularly, after that semi-starvation diet 
in the Cheka was gradually gaining strength by eating wholesome food. We 
all started eating better eggs, vegetables and fish. I was very busy; I 
practically never spent any day or night at home because I was working 
feverishly for the counter intelligence outfit. One of my duties was to be 
present at the interrogation of the Cheka people and I will never forget one 
particular case. The interrogator was a young cavalry captain, called in 
Russian rotmistr. very pale, with very fine features, of his face and hands. 
His name was Istomin. He interrogated lots of Cheka people who were brought 
to him from across the street, actually across Catherine the Great Square to 


his chamber. He was particularly interested in one man. The evidence piled up 
more and more, that that mysterious man was one of the very top men in the 
Cheka who not only ordered the execution and torture of people and was probably 
one of the cruelest men of the bunch. 

Incidentally, although we managed to capture some members of the Cheka, 
Sadzhaev and Dora managed to escape. 

Well, the interrogation continued late into the night and by the time, 
by about 2 o'clock in the morning, after the last person he interrogated was 
dismissed, Istomin tiredly looked at me and said 'Volunteer, I know that you 
were held by the Cheka, I know that your father was here and suffered a lot, 
now you heard all the evidence about one particular man, that man goes under 
several names. I would like for you to bring me that man about whom we have 
heard so much. You go across the street to the place where you and your 
father were once incarcerated, go into room number so and so, and call these 
names: Zhmurashvili. Probably no one will answer that name, but that is one 
of the code names of the man we are interested in. If nobody answers that 
name, call the name Liadov. I believe by that time somebody has to respond 
so go ahead and bring that man safely to me but remember, he is dangerous. 
He is a strong and powerful man and you are almost a little boy. I trust 
that you will bring him here without any trouble. I saluted the captain and 
walked through the dark night to the building across the square where the 
Cheka members were sitting in the chambers where they had put their opponents-- 
us so they were already getting what they had given to others. There was no 
problem with the guard after he saw the note from Captain Istomin and I came 
to the door and I remembered how the Cheka people were entering the cells at 
night, so I quietly opened the bolt and then with a big bang with my foot hit 
the door which opened with a big noise and everybody in that cell jumped up. 


The guard as behind wlt h his rifle polntlng the prlsoMrs . 

with m y pistol read, and called with a loud voice zhemurashviu; No one 

answered. Then I remembered the second naae and caUed Liadovl" 

a big man pushed forward and said 'I am afraid is so.e kind 

of mistake. ' 

'No mistake! You are the man I was looking for,' i sald , , follow mej , 

Chapter 20 Scenario 5 

He came out of the room and with the guard still standing next to me I 
told him 'I am going to take you across the Catherine the Great Square to 
another building which is familiar to you because you were working there as 
a Chekist. I am telling you one thing. You are going to walk slowly, 
keeping your hands in your pockets and I will keep my pistol pressed at the 
back of your head. The moment I detect that you try either to lift your 
hands, or your head will detach from the pressure of my pistol I will shoot. 
Is it clear?' 

'Yes, it is clear'. 

So we walked that way. He was really afraid that I was going to shoot 
him because I felt the pressure of his neck against my pistol. We walked like 
that all the way across the square into the building and to the second floor 
where I brought him into Captain Istomin's office. Captain Istomin had in the 
mean time turned the lampshade so that the light would fall on the face of the 
prisoner while his face was in the shadow. 

I sat as usual in the soft chair next to the desk with my pistol on the 
ready and watched the movements of the prisoner. I was ready to shoot him 
at the first attempt he would try to make to attack either Captain Istomin or 
me. Captain Istomin started to interrogate him, bringing up facts revealed 


by the interrogation of many other members of the Cheka whom we had interrogated 
before him. Liadov it was of course not his real name denied the charges, 
saying that his role was a very minor one, saying that he was mostly serving 
as a guard, and had never interrogated nor tortured anyone. That interrogation 
continued for pretty long until all facts learned about him were covered. He 
tried to deny everything. Then Captain Istomin told him, 'Oh by the way, do 
you remember the case of two officers they were brothers by the name of 
Istomin? You interrogated both of them, you tortured both of them, and you 
decided that they had to be shot, and you were leading the party of prisoners, 
five or six of them, to be shot. One of these brothers at that moment when 
you were crossing the square here in front of this building dashed out and 
although you and the guard fired on him, he managed to escape and you never 
found him again. Do you remember that case.' 

'I don't remember that case 1 he replied. 

'Oh you don't?' said Istomin, and he tilted the lampshade so that it 
turned the light on his face. 'Now look at me, you Cheka murderer,' he told 
Liadov. I saw the man start to shake. 

Istomin said, 'Yes, it is me, the officer whom you tortured. You killed 
my brother, and now I've got you and you'll pay for that crime as you are going 
to pay for all other crimes that you have committed here!' 

Liadov made some kind of movement and I jumped out and put my pistol 
almost against his temple and said 'Sit down or I'll shoot.' 

He obeyed, and sat down, and Istomin told me, 'Call the guard!' 

Still looking at Istomin, and holding my pistol I shouted for the guard 
and the guard came and took Liadov away. 

Another interesting case was this. I was once assigned to guard duty 
during the noon hour when the relatives of the arrested Cheka men were bringing 


food parcels to the people arrested by the counter-intelligence of the White 
army. Suddenly it brought to my memory all the humiliation, all the suffering 
that we had to go through when we were bringing food to my father. Now these 
fat well-dressed "ladies", dressed in the most expensive clothes--! knew that 
it was all requisitioned from the victims of the Cheka by their husbands, 
probably the clothes of murdered people. Some wore furs, and they were all 
bringing huge baskets filled with all sorts of delicacies, like fried chicken, 
eggs, ham, and so forth. When I saw that I lost my temper, and I cam to the 
first of the women who have me the name of one of the prisoners 'You, soldier, 
give that to my husband, 1 she ordered. 

'First I must check' I said. I could barely control myself. I yanked 
that basket from her the same way they had yanked the meager food I had been 
bringing my father. She was startled, the basket fell and all its contents 
tumbled on the pavement, chicken, eggs and all. I kicked the food and said 
'Now pick up that food and get away from there. There will be no food today 
from anybody.' And I addressed everybody else; 'Get out of here or I will 
start shooting. ' 

It was not very Christian, I know, but it was that revenge that I pledged 
that I was going to have to avenge my own and my father's suffering. 

Well, time was flying, and I was considering that my guard duty with the 
counter-intelligence in Odessa was not so important as my presence on the front, 
and I was preparing to join one of the fighting units to fight the Reds in the 
ranks of the White Army. I told my parents about that and they understood me. 
They knew that there could be no life for any one of us if the Reds ever won. 
Therefore they consented and agreed with me that I should go and join the White 
Army and fight, with the fighting units. Not just with the Odessa guard troops. 

At that time some of our friends, officers whom we knew even before the 


Revolution, and who were mostly artillery officers from the artillery 
academy in the city of Odessa, came back to vacation in the liberated city 
and came to see us, healthy, in beautiful uniforms etc. I talked to one of 
them, Victor Dominik, who later on, many years later, married my cousin, 
Galina Ulozovskii, who died in Belgium, and he told me 'Listen, this is wonderful, 
We came here from the armored train, and I think it would be very good for you 
to join the crew of the armored train. I'll arrange it with the commanding 
officer of the armored train who also came with us. As a matter of fact, a 
group of officers came for a short vacation to visit Odessa and we'll take you 
back with us to the armored train to the front line. ' 

That was arranged; the only thing that was difficult, strange as it 
may seem in this time and age, I had practically nothing to wear. There was 
that blouse or tunic, there was the coat which I wore, but my problem was shoes. 
The shoes that I had mentioned earlier, made by the shoemaker for tutoring his 
son, shortly after the outbreak of the Revolution, were practically worn out. 
I was walking about in white canvas shoes like tennis shoes, which my grandmother 
had given me, they were actually her shoes but they fit my feet, so I wore 
them. So before going to the front I took some black ink and covered these 
with ink so that they would look like black shoes; I didn't have anything else 
and it was impossible to get black shoes at that time. 

Captain Domenik, who had sponsored my appointment, said that I shouldn't 
worry, that as soon as we reached the armored train I would get a uniform and 
shoes or boots. Then he told me that I would be assigned to a machine gun 
unit of the armored train. The name of the armored train was "General 


Well, the time had comeit was in August, 1919 to say goodbye to my 
parents. I embraced my mother, my sister and my father, who had to fight back 


the tears, and mother blessed me also with a little icon of St. Nicholas. 
St. Nicholas was considered the patron saint of our family. I still carry 
that icon with me all the time. It survived the civil war and all the terrible 
years of the Second World War. 

I didn't have many things to take with mesome underwear, a couple of 
pairs of socks, and that was about all. Captain Domenik said not to worry, 
that we would travel to the front in style. They had come in a railway 
carriage, actually a freight car, but they had managed to transform it into 
a semblance of a cozy living room, with couches, chairs, table lamps, carpets 
I don't know where they had got it all. Anyhow, that carriage at the request 
of the officers was attached to various trains. We went to the Odessa rail 
road station, climbed aboard that beautifully furnished freight car and then I 
was introduced to the officers who were there. There were four or five, 
including the acting commanding officer, Captain Sommers. The carriage was 
attached to a train and we went rolling toward the Armored train on which I was 
to serve. The trip lasted several days, although we were going into territory 
already firmly occupied by the White Army, the train service was still in 
pretty chaotic state. Our carriage was attached first to one train and then 
another and was standing a long time at certain stations waiting for a train 
to bring us closer to the front line. 

And then one night our carriage was attached to a train which was 
bringing back to the front line cassack troops of the so-called Shkuro 
Division. They were called Wolves and in my recollections they today remind 
me of Davy Crockett, for they had wolf tails attached to their caps. They 
were merciless toward the communists and at that time, after all my experience 
with the Cheka and seeing torture chambers, those terrible things in Odessa, 
I shared their merciless views. During the stops at the stations they invited 



e. a young fellow, to one of their carriages . 
the officers and m en of this Wolf Division . ^ had 

spy on that train and they were interrogating him . The man was captured 
they found in his suitcase lots of mo ney and plans showing the location of 
the troops, command headquarters, etc. So he was a Soviet spy sent to 
rear. They were m erci less. He was beaten up, he didn't want to 
questions, they threatened hi m that they would bum his feet with candles and 
let him dance if he wouldn't. And then finally the senior officer said, 
'well, that's enough. We know that you are a spy, and you are sentenced by 
me to be shot at the next station.' And then he called for one man from his 
troops and said 'You will shoot him.' And then he looked at me and said, 
'Oh, you are young, you have just joined the White Army, why don't you also 
take part in the execution squad together with my man?' 

Well I wasn't very delighted but I couldn't say anything. The next 
station came, we jumped from the carriage, the man with the rifle and I with 
my pistol. We pulled the Soviet spy behind the railroad tracks, forced him to 
lie down and the other man said 'I will shoot and you will shoot.' He aimed 
his rifle and shot and I aimed my pistol and I shot. The man was dead. At 
that point I got sick. I thought, 'God have mercy on me. I have participated 
in the killing of a human being. ' 

You must understand that at that time hatred of the communists was very 
strong in me, but somehow shooting that man... there was no doubt that he was 
a spy, any court martial would have ordered him to be shot, but to be an 
executioner didn't lie comfortably with me. I looked to the sky and thought, 
I have participated in a mortal sin, killing another man. I know that during 
the war I saw machinegun bullets from my machinegun kill some more men but 
that was in battle; this was something different. 


So we had to run fast because the train started to move; I didn't 
jump into the carriage where this Wolf Division was, but into the carriage 
where our officers were. Evidently my face was pale and they looked at me 
and said "where were you? we were wondering what happened to you!" I 
couldn't hide and I told them what had happened. They tried to comfort me and 
said "Well, you shouldn't have gone to that carriage; we were taking you in 
our carriage here. But you shouldn't be too much concerned about that. The 
man was a spy of our terrible enemy and the fact that you participated in his 
execution was allright. Don't worry about it." 

But strangely enough, it affected me. Something happened to my health. 
From that point on I had some stomach trouble; it was colitis, I had to go 
to the latrine there was blood in my refuse. Apparently that shook me 
very strongly, and I still remember that unfortunate night when I committed a 

cardinal sin. 

Well, we moved toward the front and finally I found myself at the armored 


Chapter 21 Scenario V 

This scenario will encompass my entire participation in the 
Russian civil war. I will not go into the big strategy and 
events of that war, but will only describe the civil war as an 
eyewitness, my little domain of activities as a volunteer soldier 


on the armored train "General Drozdovskii. " 

Thousands of books and articles have been written about the 
war in Russia, so it is not for me to add a big study to that; it 
is not the purpose of this story. I have to project the moments 
of my life into the time and space where the events took place. 
First of all, from the previous chapters I have described the 
incredible rift that developed between the two parts of the 
Russian population, the Whites and Reds. Tremendous hatred 
accumulated on both sides, caused primarity by the unbelievable 
atrocities which were first perpetrated by the Reds. It started 
shortly after the communist seizure of power, with the torturing 
and killing of officers. I myself saw people tortured in 
unbelievable ways, and I have told of what I saw of the dreadful 
Cheka in Odessa. 

So that brings us to the mood of this awful civil war. 
Actually the point was reached where no prisoners were taken 
alive. This does not include, however, masses of former 
soldiers. Peasants and farmers, they were shifting their 


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loyalties between both sides, Red and White, depending on their 
successes. They were actually changing sides, taking the red 
star from their cap and putting a White Army insignia on it, 
turning their rifles and bullets in the opposite direction. 
They were the vast majority. However the leaders ~ the commis 
sars in the Red ranks and the communist officers on the Red 
side were real enemies. And on their part they considered 
likewise all of the Russian intelligentsia, the people like me 
who volunteered for the White movement, former officers, former 
cadets of military schools, and all other volunteers. For us 
there was no mercy. If we were ever captured we were usually 
tortured before being killed. Thus, when I joined the army 
there was already an understanding among friends in the military 
units never to leave a wounded man on the battlefield because he 
woald be tortured to death. If there was no possibility to 
bring him out and save him, it was better to kill him; so at 
least he wouldn't be tortured. That was the incredible state of 
mind we reached on both sides of the front lines. 

Speaking of the front lines, as you recall, it was the 1st 
day of September that I arrived at the front lines, when I 
finally reached my destination, the base from which the armored 
train operated. The whole White army was marching north in the 
general direction of Moscow. There was great enthusiasm and joy 
because of the victories. What helped the situation was also 

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When our group from Odessa finally arrived at the front 
I found the armored train.* This was actually two trains. One 
train served as a base, that consisted of normal passenger car 
riages in which we lived. They were comfortable. They were 
freight carriages with our reserves of ammunition, explosives 
needed for battle, there was our bakery, our kitchen, and our 
laundry, all in specially prepared cars. This was our base; we 
lived on that base. Now the armored train itself consested of 
armored cars; in composition the train looked as follows. First 
there were two flat cars, on which were stored lots of materials, 
rails etc. needed for restoration of the railroad tracks. After 
these two flat cars was the first gun and machine gun armored 
car. It had a field artillery cannon, of 3 inches caliber, in a 
turret which could be moved almost 3/4 of a circle, and it also 
had 3 turrets on the top with heavy machine guns. Also it had 
openings on the sides for additional machine guns if needed. 
The armor was very heavy. There were steel plates, then cement, 
and then other steel plates. So even a direct hit by small 
caliber artillery wouldn't pierce that armor. After the first 
armored car with a cannon there was another flat car, again with 
equipment, rails and all other materials needed for repair, and 
after that another armored car like the first one, only called 

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No. 2. That flat car in between permitted the second gun to be 
directed also forward, in certain position of the train, to fire 
without hitting the car in front of it. Then after that there 
was a commanders' car also armored, which had only machine guns 
and a turret from shich the CO could observe the battlefield. 
After that came the locomotive. Sometimes it was armored, some 
times it was just a regular locomotive. In certain situations we 
preferred powerful locomotives of the passenger express trains 
because they were better ezuipped for a quick advance and quick 
withdrawal from certain battlefield situations. However they 
were vulnerable because even close range machine gun fire could 
hit the pipes and damage the locomotive. Then after the loco 
motive we had the third gun and machine gun car with the gun 
turret directed in the opposite direction toward the rear of the 
train. This was so that in case the train found itself beyond 
the enemy lines and we were attacked from the rear we had at 
least one cannon capable of firing back. And at the end again 
two flat cars with all the rails and equipment needed for repairs 
of the track. That was our armored train, part of which parti 
cipated in the battles. 

Immediately upon arrival at the train I was assigned a place 
to live in a compartment in one of the carriages in the base of 
the train, which was very comfortable. I shared that with 
another volunteer, and then I finally managed to get my shoes, 


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because I came to the front wearing my grandmother's canvas 
tennis shoes, painted black. Well x got my 
uniform, x g . t all the insignia ^ z was 

be a machinegunner. There .as very little t ime for practise, so 
theoretical learning of the machine gun was easy but I was wait 
ing for the chance to start firing. Finally we got that chance; 
the machine guns were carried out in the open field, the targets 
were set, and I learned all the tricks of machine gun fire. 
I was assigned to one of the turrets in the machine gun car no. 1, 
that is, the first forward looking car. 

We had two kinds of machine gun. In the turrets were firmly 
set the Vickers machine guns, a very good, excellent piece of 
weaponry and also we had the light Lewis., We, the gunners, were 
sitting in the turrets; we were sitting on something like a 
bicycle seat, with a place for our feet to rest, and we had a 
little wheel on the side, with which we could turn the turret 
350 degrees around, and also in the opening there was a free 
play for raising and lowering the machine gun. Well, the crew of 
the armored train consisted of two echelons; while one was man 
ning the armored train during the battle the other one was at 
the base resting, doing other military duties. So the day would 
usually start with the wakening of the crew that was scheduled 
to go into battle the next day, about 3 oclock in the morning. 

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We dressed, and then we were given a good breakfast, usually 
some hot borshcht, bread, sometimes a piece of meat or piece of 
bacon on the black bread, then we had to go to bring our ammuni 
tion and machine guns from storage to t he armored train, fix it 
there, and aroand 5 oclock in the morning we would start moving 
toward the front line. The base and armored train itself during 
the night time usually was withdrawn from the front line, about 
two or three railway stations back. Then we would move toward 
the front lines. The moment we came there we were placed under 
the command of the higher ranking officer of the sector, in 
charge of the unit covering that area, and he would give us 
certain targets, and assignments, ordering us to do certain 
things. We would usually move forward, at the head of the 
infantry. The targets were usually indicated for the artillery, 
so oar guns would open fire. Especially we were always trying 
to position our armored train on the curve of the railroad track 
so that if not all three at least two of our guns could fire at 
the target. Sometimes we had to go forward fast, and even get 
orders to capture a railroad station. Of course we were very 
cautious, watching the railroad tracks. In the first flat car, 
at the very front, there was a forward observer with a telephone 
who would look very closely at the railroad track and see whether 
the tracks were not damaged and the train could proceed. 



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Sometimes an enemy armored train would come to me et us and 
there would ensue a duel with that adored train. ! participated 
in many of those battles. We got a couple of hits, but fortun 
ately no one was killed or wounded. Many times we had to repair 
the railroad tracks. Sometimes we entered stations when the Red 
infantry was still there. At one place we entered a little 
station and the Red soldiers didn't even recognize that it was 

a White armored train and started to ask us questions. instead 

of an answer they got concentrated machine gun fire and fled. 
So that was how we were fighting. Unually after one whole 

day in battle we would withdraw and by dark would come back to 

our base for a rest. 

From that point on we were actually resting for over 24 hours 
because early next morning the second crew would take our place 
and go with the armored train up to the front. 

Now I will give you the location of the places where my first 
participation in the battles of the civil war started. I will 
leave with the tapes a map on which it may be seen how we were 
advancing and retreating, and also a picture of our armored train. 
One map covers the Orel area, the second the Kursk area and the 
third the Briansk area. 

I came to the armored train when it was located at the rail 
road station Lgov, an important railroad junction. Actually the 

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train was . Uttle south Qf 

you W iii flnd there the railroad 

where I boarded the adored train. And then we were 9 oin 9 up 
toward I*,,, fighting the R eds, then wo turned toward Kursk. t 
a large city, an important point, and it was reaUy a pleasure 
to be first in Kursk. However the railroad station was soo,e 

distance from the city. 

Chapter 22 Scenario V 

We were first to enter the railroad station and then the - 
infantry followed us, seized the city and we marched after the 
infantry. I remember only the big cathedral, with some beautiful 
wall paintings of saints. Asolemn Te Deum was said, thanking God 
for liberation from the Reds. 

We didn't have much time to be in Kursk so we rushed back 
to our armored train and continued farther northward toward the 
other large city, Orel. It was constant battles as we moved for 
ward. We were organized in groups of three armored trains which 
were called a division not a regular division, but a group of 
three trains two light artillery trains and a heavy artillery 
train. At one point the commanding general of the area ordered 
our three armored trains to take a position along the stretch of 
railroad tracks, since the Red cavalry was going in that direc 
tion trying to escape the trap set by the White armies. We were 

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After this episode we proceeded without any hindrance toward 
the large city of Orel. it was already pretty close in the , 
direction of Moscow. We captured Orel but our armored train was 
there only a very short time. We just managed to dash into the 
city together with the infantrymen who were coming into the 
town and mopping up the remnants of the Red troops who were 
retreating from the city. I have only a very vague impression 
of that town since we were told to return immediately to our 
armored train, since we were moving elsewhere. 

We were ordered to move back to Kursk and from Kursk west 
ward to that railroad station of Lgov and then from there we 
started an offensive in the general direction of Briansk. 
There was heavy fighting near the station Dmitriev north of Lgov, 
then Kamarichi, then it was already getting frosty at that 
time I remember passing through the railroad station Brassovo. 
Brassovo was the extate of the former Grand Duke Mikhail, who 
made a morganatic marriage to a woman not of royal blood and 
therefore she was given a title, Countess of Brassovo, and that 
was their estate there. 

Our goal was Briansk. An interesting thing happened in the 
meantime. Once we were standing on a station. Shile our armored 
train was on the front line fighting I was with the crew that was 
resting. I had guard duty, walking near our three large four- 


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axeled cars in which we carrier! *n 

all our ammunition and explosives 

These three freight cars were at the head of our base, of the 
train which served as our home, and I was walking along the rail- 
road tracks. My duty was to see that nobody approached our cars 
with ammunition and explosives. At the head of the whole train 
was the locomotive, ready to move at any time with the engineer 
and his helper. On the adjacent track there was a huge train 
full of ammunition and explosives , and again at the head of 
that train was a caboose where people had a little stove burning 
and were warming themselves. What I didn't know was that beside 
the stove they had a large container full of benzine - gasoline. 
By that time the terrain was covered with snow and while I was 
walking between our train and the caboose a terrible explosion 
shook the air and I felt that I was hit by the air wave, which 
pushed me so hard that I was dragged underneath our train and 
found myself on the other side of the railroad track. I saw that 
at certain spots the snow was burning where that exploded gaso 
line had spilled. Fortunately, none had got on my clothing, but 
still I was afraid to mave back toward that place, so I rolled in 
the snow to get my clothing wet and then dashed back. A terrible 
picture me my eyes. First of all I knew that the railroad train 
which was on the next track parallel to ours was full of explos 
ives shells, shrapnel, etc., and at any moment would start to 
explode. At the same time I was concerned about our three cars 


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with our explosives. They were also covered with some of the 
gas, and there was a little flame flickering on the walls of 
our cars. The duty officer was running toward me shouting some 
thing, and some other crew members were rushing up there. And 
at the same time I noticed that the engineer and his deputy on 
the locomotive were trying to jump out of the locomotive. I 
realized that if they left the locomotive we would be lost 
because the explosion would hit our train and everything would 
be ruined. Therefore I raised my carbine and shouted to the e 
engineer: 'Climb back into that train or I'll shoot!' He under 
stood that and climbed back on the locomotive. At the same time 
the crew under the command of dthe duty officer were uncoupling 
the three treight cars with our explosives from the rest of the 
train where we had oar passenger cars, where we lived. He 
ordered me to run to the locomotive and order to the engineer to 
back up and push our train and then move forward carrying with 
him our three cars with ammunition. This done, our train 
started rolling after the effect of the push and the duty officer 
ordered some of us to jump on the train and use the hand brakes 
as soon as we were clear of the train that started already and 
was standing on the adjacent railroad track and where the ammuni 
tion had already started to explode. At the same time the loco 
motive with our three cars moved forward fast and beyond the 
range of the explosions. It was a terrible thing; how we sur- 


/ j. - 

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: fore 


ovl :' or 


vived * don't know . The 
while our train was back toward the switches at one end of the 
station while our locomotive and three cars wihtout ammunition 
were at the other end of the station, also safe fro, the 
explosion. it was a terrible night, however finally the ammuni* 
tion train burned itself out, everything exploded that could 
explode, and in the morning we went to see what was left. Of 
course no one survived, those people who were there - we were 
sorry for them, but they were stupid - who were burning the **' 
little stove in the caboose with the tank of gasoline in the 
same place. Apparently the fumes from that gasoline ignited. 

Well we moved farther on, after the return of our armored 
train, toward Briansk. Before Briansk there was an important 
place to be taken Naviar. Naviar was a huge ceter with lots 
of railroad trains congesting the station with all the goods 
that the Reds had tried to evacuate from the south. So we were 
ready to seize this loot there. We went to seize Naviar. 
However when we reached the place a little south of Naviar there 
was a little station called Pogriby, and when we came up to that 
place we discovered that the Reds had destroyed a very small 
bridge over a little brook. We restored it but it took us about 
four hours. We moved forward but by that time heavy artillery 
started to fire against oar train. We couldn't see at first 
where it was coming from and then we fourn out that it was out- 

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side the range of our fiela artiUer, p ieoes , 3O e started to 


By that time I didn't feel too well; i fe i t as if i was 
getting a cold or something. But we were in need of fuel f or 
oar locomotive, and we stopped. There were huge forests in that 
area, the famous Briansk forests, and our locomotive was using 
firewood. Firewood was stored all along the railroad tracks ' 
and we were sent out to pidk up this firewood for the train. 5 
When I jumped out of the train I didn't feel well at all. I was 
shivering, I felt that my temperature was rising, however I had 
to make the last effort to carry these heavy logs to the loco 
motive. So finally we managed to fill up all the wood that was 
possible to collect and move back. 

At the time we left there was a Red counterattack toward 
the railroad station Dmitriev, which was north of Lgov, by the 
Latvian division the Latvians at that time were very much in 
the service of the Reds. The Latvian division managed to break 
through our front lines and was advancing toward the little 
station Dmitriev and they captured a bridge which we had to cross 
in coming home to our base. I was shivering, trembling with high 
fever; it was getting completely dark and I was lying covered 
with my coat and the commanding officer came to all of us and 
said 'Well, we are in a pretty difficult situation. We have just 
learned that the bridge has been seized by the Reds. We just 

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have to hope that they haven't aestroyea it. ! will take . 
chance and just go throagh ^ ^.^ ^ ^ ^^ ^ 

before that I would like for you to have so.e vodka and son-e 

food to eat. ' 

So we got some bacon which was fried on the little stove , 
that was in each of the armored train carriages. Although I 
didn't have any appetite I was hoping that vodka would help me, 
but when they gave me a little glass and I downed it my eyes .eh 
popped out because it wasn't vodka, it was pure alcohol. We ia 
hadn't known that; we had to dilute it with water. However that 
cheered up quite a few of us and in a better mood we started 
back toward this bridge. When we approached the bridge the order 
was given to open fire. However I didn't feel well at all so 
I couldn't even climb into my turret and another man took my 
place, and we opened fire with machine guns. They told me that 
they saw some figures near the bridge but they didn't demolish it 
and we managed to escape the trap. By that time I already was 
losing consciousness; I didn't realize at the time that I was 
getting the dreadful enemy of our troops during the civil war, 
the spotted typhus. More people died of that typhoid fever 
during the civil war than from battle wounds and bullets. As a 
matter of fact I remember passing that bridge, but what happened 
afterward I do not remember. I lost consciousness because I had 
a terrifically high fever; I don't even remember how they 


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that base train moved forward. All the events after that I 
learned much later on when I came back to my senses. 

in the meantime our armored train suffered a big calamity! 
Our base moved without being molested by the Reds first through 
Lgov toward Kursk due east, and then from Kursk started to 
retreat in the general direction of Belgord and Kharkov. The 
armored train was still fighting the Reds in ^ ^ Qf Komarich . 
and Dmitriev. There were five armored trains that were retreating 
that way, but something happened at Lgov station. Lgov station 
was a junction of the main railroad tracks from Kursk toward 
Vorozhva and from Briansk toward Kharkov. One line was going 
over the other on a viaduct on a heavy bridge. There was a com 
plete lack of communication, so our retreating forces, infantry, 
not knowing that there were still five armored trains north of 
Lgov, blew up that bridge and destroyed the possibility of 
retreat for five armored trains. Our people had to blow up all 
the armored trains. They then retreated on foor and were taken 
by trains and finally joined the base in which I was lying, com 
pletely unaware of what was going on somewhere south of Kursk in 
the direction of Solntsovo. 

I was coming to my senses and saw some familiar faces 
friendly faces, concerned about me but we didn't have any 
doctors; we didn't have any medicaments, anthing. My friend, 

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Captain tainik . who later 
br^ht me to the train . 

losing strength. 

So that lasted all the way until we reached the station 
Solntsovo. There an unpredictable terrible event took pl ace of 
which I already took notice, because I gradually was coming to 
my senses, but I was so weak I could not even raise my hand. 
When we reached Solntsovo station I heard some machine gun and, 
rifle fire, and somebody dashed through the train shouting S rto . 
'Everybody out! The Reds are on the station! ' ^.-, hl ^ ltt 
I tried to shout 'Don't forget me! Take me!' but nobody * 
heard me. Everybody was busy waging battle with the Reds who 

Chapter 23 Scenario 5 

occupied the station, while I was left alone on the train expect 
ing that at any moment the Reds might come in and find me; and 
torture and kill me if they found me there. All the electric 
lights were on so I couldn't even hide myself in the darkness. 
At the same time I was so very weak I practically couldn't move. 
I decided that I would rather kill myself than be tortured and 
captured by the Reds. Remembering that my Browning revolver was 
on the shelf above my head, together with my suitcase, I made 
the effort to raise myself and reach for the Browning. Then, 

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with the 

in my hand- 
consciousness . 

I was determined to *ill myse lf ratner than be 

including my dear friend Domenik. x managed to pufc ^ Browning 
under the blanket so they wouldn't notice what my intentions had 
been. They were particularly gay because they had managed to 
repel the Reds and move the train. So everyone was singing, 
drinking, etc., but I still was only semi-conscious. I came to 
only when we reached finally the big railroad station of Kharkov. 
From there on a rapid recovery started as we retreated southward. 
We were told that we would receive a new armored train when 
we reached Rostov. The armored cars were being prepared for us. 

By the time we arrived in Rostov, I had recovered completely 
and was looking forward to a rest. I managed to get a new 
uniform made for me in Rostov, new boots, and even ventured once 
into a fancy restaurant where I didn't know what to do and 
ordered champaigne and caviar. I had money due to me because we 
managed to bring with us a couple of freight cars filled with 
sugar; rather than give it to the communists, we attached the 
cars to our train and brought them back to Rostov. The sugar 
was sold on the black market and the money divided among the 
train crew, so I had my share of that. In addition, each of us 
had a bag of about 100 Ibs. of sugar put under the sleeping bench. 


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So what helped my recovery probably was lots of that sugar and 
the availability of eggs. We were making the so-called gogen 
mogjen, mixing eggs with sugar and eating that with dark bread; 
it all helped me to recover my strength. The only thing that 
was missing badly was citrus; I don't think I ever longed for 
anything as much as I did at that time, for something sour to 
build up my body. 

Well, we got our new armored train; there was a difference, 
however, in its construction. The first cannon was a 75 mm. navy 
gun, not with a turret but with a shield, like they had on the 
navy vessels; it was put on a flat car, because the navy 77 mm. 
gun had a wider range than a simple field piece. The celebration 
was announced after christening the new train, and here somthing 
happened that I will never forget. While we were celebrating in 
the armored train one of the girls from the kitchen came up to 
the armored train, climbed the stairs and entered the train 
carriage, bringing with her some cakes. The commanding officer 
was beside himself with rage. He said, 'How dare you come here? 
Don't you know that a woman coming on the armored train brings 
bad luck?' She got scared and dashed out, but that was that. 

By then the army retreat was in full swing. Our train was 
stationed at the railroad station of Khataisk which was across the 
Don River from Rostov-on-Don. The first order we got was to go to 
be on guard duty with the train of the Commander-in-Chief , General 


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Denikin, which was at the ra-ii^ 

railroad station Tikhoretskaia. Our 

train was stationed by the Commander-in-Chief 's train. 

I am not going to describe any more battles or big strategy 
of the White Army since one can turn to two books by two great 
White commanders, both in English, one the recently published 
book WHITE AGAINST RED, General Denikin's story, and the other 
the memoirs of General Wrangel, ALWAYS WITH HONOR. I will only 
describe the events which actually concerned me. 

So we ware at that station, Tikhoretskaia. And there was 
only one assignment, it was not particularly eventful. We only 
kept constant guard around the train. I saw the Commander-in- 
Chief, General Denikin, several times. 

I spent a very lonesome Christmas night standing on guard 
duty. it was an awfully cold night; a clear night with bright 
stars shining, and I was standing there, thinking of past 
Christmases, good old times of my childhood and some of the 
terrible events of the Revolution and then my thoughts were all 
with my family. I was wondering what they were doing; I knew 
that they were all in Odessa but we didn't even know whether 
Odessa was still in the hands of the Whites or if the Reds were 
threatening it. We didn't have any newspapers, just sometimes 
a bulletin. So that was Christmas night in the Kuban steppes in 
1919. At that time I didn't realize that it would be the last 
Christmas I would spend in Russia, because by that time in 1920 

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I would already be out of Russia. 

We lived through only one very unpleasant moment. lt 

having a drink or so at midnight I slep t qu i et l y in my compart _ 
ment with a friend of mine in the bunk next to me. Then early 
in the morning we were awakened by shooting going on in the rail 
road station. I was very much upset because I realized that it 
was probably an attack on the Commander-in-Chief 's train and we 
were here on guard duty and we had missed this terrible event. 
So wa dressed and rushed out and then we found that this was only 
the Commander-in-Chief s personal cossack guard who were cele- y 
brating the New Year by shooting up into the thin air from car 
bines, pistols and everything; that was quite a surprise. 

This was a very critical time for the White armies. Our 
army was disorganized and practically lost control of everything 
and the retreat was almost a rout. Anew force developed at that 
time on the territory still occupied by the White army, there 
appeared the so-called Greens. Initially the Greens were actu 
ally deserters from the White army and some from the Red army. 
They were sick and tired of the civil war and wanted to be left 
alone and organized into some kind of semi-neutral bands which 
called themselves Greens. However as these Greens began to polar 
ize, some of them became more inclined toward the Reds and a 
minority toward the Whites, so they called themselves Red-Greens 

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and White-Greens. I know it is awfully confusing to anyone who 
hears of this now, but that was the situation. 

Gradually the Red command managed to take control over the 
Greens and they became some kind of secret arm of the Reds. So 
the Greens began to interfere with the retreat of our armies; 
they attacked lines of communication, they attacked important 
railroads leading to the oil which we were getting from the 
Caucasus, etc. 

Our armored trains were assigned to protect that railroad 
linking particularly on the stretch between the city and the 
stations of Armavir and Mineral 'nye vody. That stretch was very 
important because all freight and passenger trains of the 
Caucasus were going over that stretch of railroad tracks and it 
had to be protected because the Red-Greens were mining the rail 
road tracks, attacking stations, etc. So, initially there were 
two armored trains, one, our "General Drozdovskii, " was coming 
from Armavir, and another, the "Moguchii" (Mighty One) was 
coming from the station Mineral 'nye vody. They were accom 
panying the trains to a point where they would meet. Our train 
was coming from the north and the meeting point was a station 
called Edinomyskaia. There we would come to that point, trains 
would pass in both directions and then we would come back to our 
initial base of action, our train to Armavir, and "Moguchii" to 
Mineral ' nye vody . 



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One day at A rmavir , was 
Passing train who would like to see 

I found a cousin of mine who was being 
recovering fro, the sa.e typhoid fever which I had had. He 
already felt better, so when he saw our train with the markings 
of 'General Drozdovskii, < he knew that I was serving on it, and 
he asked somebody to pass the word to me. I was so glad to see 
him that my good friend Captain Dominik immediately proposed that 
we take him off the sanitary train and bring him to our train. 
However, he said no, he was going to a good hospital at Mineral' . 
nye vody, and after recovery he would come to see me. That was 
a tragic decision because he went to that hospital at Mineral 'nye 
vody and then one day the town was overrun by the Reds and he and 
all other officers and volunteers like him were killed in the 

So that was our story. Our armored train "General Drozdovskii" 
would come from Armavir to the central meeting point at the station 
Edinomyskaia and "Moguchii" would come from Mineral 'nye vody. We 
would meet there, stay there for a half an hour and then return. 

One day, however, we came to Edinomyskaia and were surprised 
at seeing our other armored train "Moguchii' standing not at the 
station but relatively far away, near the signal and switches 
leading to the station. We didn't understand what was going on; 
we jumped out of the train and ran to the station and found it 

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nobody; we couian't understand what was going ^ ^ 
ing officer ordered a whistle to be given to ,, Moguchii ,,. 
was no response, and then suddenly "Moguchii- opened fire 
The first shell hit our armored train on oar first cannon, the 
navy 75 mm. gun and disabled it. The one man who was standings 
there was killed and the other wounded. The second shell hit the 
locomotive but fortunately didn't pierce anything, but damaged it 
slightly. The commanding officer immediately gave the signal a 
alarm, we jumped on our armored train and started to retreat back. 
The'ftoguchii" armored train, seeing that our first cannon was not 
responding, moved boldly after us, firing. We of course realized 
that the Reds had managed during the night to seize that armored 
train, and probably through torture had learned about our plans 
and were waiting for us at that station. We were retreating fast 
and couldn't fire because as I said before our forward looking 
cannon was disabled. Our commanding officer, Captain Gutkov, was 
standing on the roof of one of the armored cars and waiting until 
the train moved into a position where the second gun could open 
fire. He then ordered the train to stop and we opened rapid 
fire on "Moguchii" which stopped too and started to retreat. But 
we didn't disable her. It was a most distressing story. That 
was the beginning of the end of that campaign. We came back to 
Armavir and learned that our troops were retreating rapidly to 

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Novorossiisk, that our last port on the Black Sea would be evacu 
ated soon, and that our only chance for salvation was to try to 
get to Novorossiisk. However we learned soon that the Reds had 
captured Novorossiist, and there was no other way for us to 
retreat anywhere. So they held a military council. At that time 
in our group there were five armored trains in that area and some 
units of Kuban cossacks, some cavalry and so forth. Our only 
chance to get through was now to go to another port on the Black 
Sea to which the railroad tracks led, Tuapse. However we knew 
that Tuapse had been taken by the so-called Red-Greens and that 
the track leading from Armavir to Tuapse went through a mountain 
range and we had to go through six tunnels, three of them making 
a complete circle while going through the mountain range. We 
knew that the easiest thing for the Reds would be to just destroy 
on of the tunnels and all five armored trains in our group would 
be stuck there. So one day we came to a point it was a little 
railroad station .called Ganzhar where we had to stop since the 
railroad tracks had been destroyed by the Red-Greens who had a 
fortified position. 

Chapter 24, Scenario 5 

The five armored trains gradually came up to that point and many 
other trains with troops in the general retreat of the White ,. o 
Army. In front of us were hastily fortified positions of the so- 

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called Red-Greens. it wa<? 4-v, v 

beginning of March and the sun was 

war,, so we came out of our adored train and were sitting around. 
Gradually the Gre ens ca me toward us, without weapons, and we 
started to tal k to the,, sitting together, until our commanding 
officer noticed that too many of them were coming toward our 
train, so he suddenly gave the order to stop any kind of friendly 
talks and get back on the armored train. He was afraid that they 
would try to capture our train as they had done with the ill- 
fated train "Moguchii, " so we jumped on the armored train and the 
Greens quickly retreated to their positions which were close to 
the railroad tracks. The railroad tracks, as I said before, had 
been dismantled by them so we couldn't move forward. At that 
time some of the higher ranking officers, General Sfchif fner-Markevich 
and Gfcner.*!' Pisarev, tried to negotiate with the Greens to let 
us pass to Tuapse and then leave for the Crimea. We needed first 
of all to gain some time by negotiations in order that more 
troops could assemble there. We learned that Novorossiisk had 
been taken by the Reds, and I learned also that Odessa, where my 
parents and sister were living, had also been taken by the Reds, 
but at that point I didn't know anything about the fate of my 
family. We knew that it would be very hard to break through six 
tunnels which were very vulnerable for any kind of sabotage. The 
Reds needed to blow up only one of them and we would be stuck, so 
that was the reason for our decision to negotiate. One young 


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office, from our armored 
tions. After briefing by 

Lieutenant Harashkevich, in full officer . s uniform , 
and pistol, started to walk toward the Greens' position. We 
were on full alert, ! was sitting in my turret wifch my machine 
gun on the ready in case something happened to the lieutenant.^ 
It was understood that a locomotive would come from their head 
quarters toward the point where they had their positions in 
front of us, that he would mount that locomotive, which would 
take him to the headquarters of the Greens, where he would 
negotiate with them on behalf of our command here and then come 
back and report about the result of the negotiations. We ^ 
figured that it would take about five or six hours for him to do 
that. Shortly after he reached the position of the Greens a 
locomotive came from that side, he mounted the locomotive ~ we 
saw that through binoculars and the locomotive went back. We 
waited and waited, more than six hours passed, it became dark. 
Only sometime around midnight did we finally hear the noise of a 
locomotive coming from the other side, so we were on alert and 
some people came waiting for Lieutenant Harashkevich to appear. 
Finally he came back, walking, from the side of the enemy. He 
was immediately surrounded by some of his friends, members of 
our crew, but he said that he was not going to tell anything 
until he made a report to General Schif fner-Markevich, so he 
went back to the staff train and then after about one hour of 

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briefing the order came which explained the . 
all the so called Greens had now become co m pletel y Red. Their 
command headquarters to which our m an had been taken was already 
completely Red, there were Red Army officers, regular officers. 
Directly after arrival they took away his saber and his pistol 
and offered their conditions for our passage. T*ey said we had 
to lay down all our arms, and surrender all our armored trains - 
everything - and that under their word of honor they would let 
us pass without weapons through to Tuapse, to call from there the 
ships from Crimea that would take us there. Of course it was 
laughable. We knew that the moment we laid down our weapons and 
they took over our armored trains we would be lost. We would 
just be prisoners and probably would be executed by the Reds. 
So General Schif fner-Markevich and General Pisarev decided that 
we would start immediately an offensive and try to force our 
hand and seize the tunnels before the Reds had time to blow them 
up. The order was given to start firing at the Red position 
within a half hour. We were pretty close to their position, it 
was quite within the range of the machine guns and my machine 
gun turret probably played the most important role because it 
was the forward machine gun. Altogether two machine guns, from 
two turrets, could fire at the Reds in front, and also our cannon, 
that navy 75 mm. cannon that was on the first carriage. So at 
five oclock in the morning, we opened fire. After firing into 


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the Red position for about fiftee n minutes we stopped and 
sent a reconnaissance unit to see what had happened . 
had fled from their position, so we i mme di ately sent a detach . 
ment of our engineers who repaired the railroad tracks and ag 
soon as it was repaired the armored trains moved forward. We 
first went cautiously over the newly repaired tracks and then 
gathered speed and went faster and faster toward the first 
tunnel. We knew that after the first tunnel there was a rail 
road station called Khodyzhynskaia, so our target was to get to 
that station through the first tunnel at least. At some little 
stations the railroad personnel told us that the Red-Greens were 
fleeing fast in the general direction of Tuapse. At one point 
we met a Soviet armored train which fired a few shots at us but 
when we opened fire it retreated fast. No damage was done 
immediately to us nor to that armored train of the Reds. Toward 
the evening we reached the first tunnel, we stopped there, it 
was getting dark, so we sent a reconnaissance group inside the 
tunnel which came back and told us that there was a freight car 
thrown off the railroad tracks to block our train from passing 
through, but it was not a bi' problem. Our engineers went ahead 
to clear the tracks, but as we knew that it would take some time 
to move that overturned freight cam, we sent a reconnaissance 
party over the mountain to see what was going on on the other 
side of the tunnel. We knew that it would be a long walk for 

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our reconnaissance g roup. was headed by a 
took with them a light Lewis machine gun. 

I was as usual sitting in my turret dozing and so a couple 
of hours passed when I heard a short burst of machine gun fire 
which echoed all through the mountains. Abou t twenty seconds af 
after that there was tremendous noise, like an explosion, a very 
long one, something hard to describe, but it was a terrific' 
noise going on and echoing in the mountains. We couldn't figure 
out what to think, so we sat waiting and waiting for the return 
of our reconnaissance group. 

Finally we heard voices and they came back. What they told 
us was almost unbelievable. They said that they managed to get 
across the mountains over the tunnel, and descend toward the 
station. They saw lots of troops on the station, lots of move 
ment there. Deciding to bypass the station, they moved toward 
the little house of the switchman near the semaphore giving the 
signal for incoming trains to pass or stop. They jumped on that 
railroad man, gagged him, cut the telephone line that led to the 
station, and then asked him what was going on. He said that 
there were so many troops quite a sizeable number at the 
railroad station and that a new reinforcement was coming. The 
semaphore was green, indicating that the train was due at any 
moment to enter the station. Then they didn't know what to do, 
and they already heard the incoming train, so the young officer 



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in charge of the reconnaissance group took the machine ^ ^ 
it on the soulder of another man of his gr oup and waited for th e 

was a little ar m ore d train platform with a _, and ^ 
there was a passenger type carriage, after that was the loco 
motive. When the locomotive was passing our group the lieutenant 
gave a burst of machine gun fire into the locomotive. The engin 
eer on the locomotive, in panic, gave a full brake an d so called 
reverse steam, a counter steam (in Russian) so the locomotive 
stoppe d de a d in place an d the armore d car with the turret gun 
followed by the passenger carriage broke loose from the loco 
motive an d raced toward the station, while the huge train behind 
the locomotive, consisting of carriages and freight cars filled 
with men the Soviet reinforcements started falling down. 
It was a very sharp curve and very steep terrain, so they fell, 
first on the highway far below and then some of them rolled even 
farther, down to the little river. The whole train was tumbling 
down. They couldn't believe what they saw. So that was what the 
racket and noise had been that we heard on our side of the tunnel. 
Then they managed to get back into the mountains and came back to 
tell us what had happened. 

Well, we were anxious to wait until daybreak and the moment 
daybreak came, heavily armed with machine guns, we moved through 
the tunnel to see what was going on. The Reds had fled the 

' - * ''-> 

station Khodyzhenskaia. We saw the pieces of the overturned 

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armored train and the passenger 
then we heard some kind of moaning and 

most terrible sight U nfol ded before my eyes . In the broken 
freight cars were mutilated bo dies and h alf- conscioas people , 

badly wounded. z will never forgefc 

some heavy parts of a broken freight car and showing to us his 
hand, which was hanging fro, the arm by only a few shreds and 
asking only that we kill him. I couldn't to it, I only turned e 
my head aside and passed by, but somebody who had probably more 
courage than I did so. I heard the shot and the suffering of 
that man was ended. This was how one man with a short burst 
from a machine gun defeated a whole detachment of the Soviet 

It took us all the next day to clean up the mess. We sum 
moned all the railroad people and all the people of the local 
communities to take care of the wounded men and left whatever 
medical supplies were needed for them. However our main task 
was to clean up the railroad track, which we did. It took us 
the whole day and the night but early the next morning we were 
already rolling toward the next tunnel. This big catastrophe 
for the Reds shook them up and they didn't show any more resist 
ance, however we knew that we would have resistance at the main 
mountain range, before we reached the Black Sea. It was the 

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Malagin Range, in which there were 

we had to go and which wo.ld make a complete circle in such 
way that one station, Goit,( ? ) was standing almost 
other, induk, which was down below . ^ tunnelg 
knotty pass. The Reds occupying the ridge had quite a sizeable 
force so that our infantry that came with us couldn't move up * 
and knock them fro. the range because they had a much more advan 
tageous position there. We couldn't give them any help from our 
armored train because the entrance to the first mile-long tunnel 
went on a curve and first we had to enter some kind of corridor 
with stone walls on both sides and then at the entrance, only 
shortly before the entrance to the tunnel, the railroad went 
straight. We had discovered that when we came to the entrance 
the mountain above the tunnel was so steep and high that our 
cannon couldn't be raised high enough, even our machine guns 
from the turrets couldn't be raised. Requests were coming all 
the time from our infantry trying to attack the Reds on the 
ridge of that mountains to provide them support. They didn't 
even have machine guns. Then the commanding officer of our 
armored train, which was at the head of this, came into our 
machine gun carriage and addressed us machine gunners. He said 
that we had to provide support to our troops, otherwise they 
would never be able to dislodge the Reds from the mountain ridge. 
'I ask for volunteers, ' he said, 'Who would like to climb on the 

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roof of the carriages, bringing with them light machine guns and, 
hiding behind the turrets, open fire?' Another man and I volun 
teered, but the moment we showed our heads near the roof the 
Reds opened fire. It was a very unpleasant feeling when we 
heard the bullets hitting the steel roof of the carriage on 
which we had to get. Finally I gathered my courage and told the 
other man that I would climb on and he should give me my machine 
gun and then throw me the ammunition. And I will tell you, I 
was hiding behind that turret. Finally I managed to put my 
machine gun on the turret aid opened fire on the ridge, and I and 
the other man were lucky because the Red bullets didn't hit us. 
The machine gun fire helped our infantry and they managed to 
throw the Reds behind the ridge. When we came inside of our 
armored carriage the commanding officer told both of us 'You'll 
get St. George crosses for what you have just done. ' I was very 
happy about that. 

Chapter 25 Scenario V 

However further progress was stopped by intensive fire and 
a counter attack by the Reds on the other side of the ridge. So 
a man from the infantry unit came down from the ridge to our 
train and asked our commanding officer to move as soon as pos 
sible into the tunnel before they attempted to destroy it, and 

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to try to break through the tunne] 

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of our armored train in the front. 

tively sharp descent. 

We had moved approximately half way through the tunnel when 
the commanding officer ordered the engineer on the olcomotive to 
stop and sent a few men as a reconnaissance troop to see what was 
going on at the exit from the tunnel. I as usual took my place 
at the turret and looked at the light at the end of the tunnel.' 
as they say now. I saw what looked to me like some kind of 
figures there, but it was hard to distinguish what was going on 
there. Then our reconnaissance people came back and told us that 
there were a few men apparently trying to attatch explosives to 
the railroad tracks. Also that the Reds had placed an artillery 
piece at the exit of the tunnel pointed directly into it. Appar 
ently they expected that when we appeared at the exit they would 
start firing that gun against us, which was a vry dangerous situ 

The commanding officer called a quick council of war. All 
the artillery officers were called to come to the forward gun 
platform and were discussing the possibility of firing that gun 
from inside of the tunnel. Well various arguments were heard 
that the tunnel was too small and that any raising of the gun 
would result in the fired shell hitting the ceiling of the tunnel. 

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However, since we had that navy artillery gun, which was better 
as far as trajectory was concerned, they decided to move a little 
bit forward and then, before the Reds fired into the tunnel, we 
would fire from the tunnel against that gun. So the order was 
given to the locomotive engineer, if possible without any noise, 
to start rolling down a little bit more toward the exit from the 
tunnel. And actually the engineers managed almost noiselessly 
to put our armored train into motion and by inertia and by that 
steep descent the train rolled down. And then at a certain point 
the cooimanding officer ordered the locomotive to stop, and then 
we started to aim the gun against the fieldpiece of the Reds 
which was aimed at the exit of the tunnel. The question was who 
would fire first. We were in a hurry because through binoculars 
commotion could be detected around that fieldpiece of the Reds. 
Where we were it was all very quiet except for the sound of 
water running down the walls of the tunnel. It was cold and 
there was practically no noise of excaping steam of the loco 
motive. Practically every artillery officer of the armored 
train checked the aim of our gun. Looking from my turret, it 
was as if I had the first seat in a theater. I saw that gun 
and looked at the officers as they checked the aim and then I 
heard the command 'Fire! 1 Then, something happened that prob 
ably no artillery officer could ever have foreseen. I saw the 
very bright flash of light of the firing gun, I heard the thun- 

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derous report of the shot fired in the 
and then the next, very strange sensation 
aenly I was nit as if by . very heavy objecfc 
head and I fell down from my seat and on the table that was , 
Placed underneath and then a genuine whirlwind started in the 
tunnel with sand and stone swirling around. What had happened 
was this: I believe never before in the history of artillery 
had anyone tried to fire a cannon in a tunnel. Usually artillery 
Pieces are fired in the open air. And here it was like firing 
the gun into the relatively narrow tube which was the tunnel. 
The gasses which followed the shell pushed the shell out and * 
created immediately a vacuum behind them, and that was the shock 
wave that hit me at the back of my head and threw me down from 
my saddle in the turret, and that whirlwind was started by the 
on rushing air in the back. Anyhow, that was quite a cannon fire. 
As soon as everything was calm we moved boldly forward but to the 
consternation of all the artillery officers when we emerged from 
the tunnel in the daylight, the cannon of the Reds wasn't hit, 
we had missed it. After that our artillerymen were subject to 
all sorts of jokes for having missed it. However this shot 
created panic among the Reds, they quickly abandoned their posi 
tions, our infantry units immediately descended over the ridge 
down there, and we proceeded with them. We had to take two more 
tunnels; curving tunnels that made that complete spiral circle 

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of the railroad. And finally with the help of some of the in 
fantrymen who were put on our trains because four more armored 
trains were following behind us, we everged beyond the Navagin 
Ridge and were rapidly moving toward Tuapse. We came to Tuapse 
toward evening. There was apparently such a panic among the 
Red-Greens or Reds that they abandoned everything and we entered 
cautiously into the freight station of Tuapse, a nice summer 
resort and harbor on the Caucasus shore of the Black Sea. 

Just to be sure that everything was alright the commanding 
officer ordered us to open fire, firing just into the thin air 
from all our machine guns to show that we were there, to frighten 
any of the Reds who might still be around and then we moved to 
the main station, and Tuapse was captured. The jubilation of 
the people was incredible, and it's an interesting thing to see 
how in a very short period of time life comes back to normal. 
We were heroes of course to the local people, and already the 
next day when we were walking around they were asking us to come 
aid have meals with them and have Caucasian wine etc. And on 
the second or third day in Tuapse even the circus opened and 
other theaters and shops started to function. The circus was 
connected with some not very pleasant experience for me. A group 
of us had gone to a restaurant and had a good sapper, with prob 
ably a little too much wine to drink, and then decided to go to 
the circus. So I went there, slightly under the influence. As 

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heroes of th. v ictory we were immediately placed in 
ro, near the ring and we 

One of the numbers was a trained dog, a l ittle poodle who 
was trained to waltz on the barrier of the ring, while the 
orchestra played. Then that dog waltzed in front of me , for 
some unknown reason which probably was explained by the quantity 
of wine I had consumed before that I jerked its tail and the 
dog stopped dancing and ran away, it was a very laughable thing 
for me and my friends but certainly not for the people who ran 
the circus, and the officer on duty who immediately came to me 
and asked me for my ID card and I was arrested for conduct un 
becoming an army man in a public place. Anyhow, I was arrested 
and put under military arrest for three days. I wouldn't say 
it was a very harsh punishment, because there were so many of 
our military people celebrating that there were quite a few of 
us in that little military jail. 

Well on the third day we were released and continued our 
happy life there. However, the Reds whom we had chased out of 
Tuapse now started to consolidate their forces and new masses 
of Red troops were coming up along the railroad track on which 
we came into Tuapse, so the armored trains one by one were 
pressed into battle duties. The time came for us too, and we 
went from Tuapse toward that mountain range. The mountain range 
had already been taken by the Reds from the side from which we 
came, and we just tried to protect the perimeter around Tuapse, 


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firing at the Reds while they were pressing very heavily down. * 
So the time had come for us to think of abandoning Tuapse. Part 
of the troops that managed to excape through our capture of the 
mountain range and Tuapse continued along the Caucasian shore 
down south, but wa were told that we had to destroy our armored 
trains and would be taken away by transport ship, of which several 
had already come to the port of Tuapse. 

It was a very sad thing to see when our engineers had to lay 
the rails all the way along the breakwater to the very end, then 
all armored trains were put on it one after the other. We of 
course took off all the machine guns everything of value 
from them, and then a locomotive was sent to push them and all 
five beautiful armored trains rolled into the Black Sea. 

After that, we, the crews of these armored trains, were put 
on the ship, the transport ship Nikolai, and we left Tuapse in 
the direction of Crimea. 

The sea voyage was uneventful except that a Red airplane 
appeared over us, but they didn't drop any bombs. We reached 
Kerch about four days before Easter. 

Kerch is an important city and port at the tip of the Kerch 
Peninsula which if you look at the map of the Crimea is a sort 
of appendage sticking out toward the Caucasus and divided by nar 
row straits between the Azov and Black Seas, so it was an import 
ant strategic point. 

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-.ever, the influx of troops who were 
transport was such that upon our arrival they didn't even know 

the open air on the pavement of a courtyard of three surrounding 
units. it was r ai ning and cold; we felt miserable, then someone 
of some more enterprising soldiers told us that there was a wine 
shop, the back door to a winestore. And since we had reached 
the point that we were so cold that we kind of acted already 
more on instinct than anything else, we talked it over and I 
decided to break the door and get some wine to warm ourselves. 
But when we started to try to break the door an old man came out, 
looked at us almost with tears in his eyes because we were so ' 
young, and said "I know how you feel, I will give you some wine, 
don't break the door, it is not necessary; I will give you as 
much wine as you want because I know you have to be warm after 
all that you have experienced." 

So he brought wine and gave the bottles to us, approxim 
ately one for every three or four men, so- that helped us pass the 
night, under the open air, in the rain. 

In the morning our commanding officer apparently managed to 
get permission to put us in a more sheltered place and we were 
marched into the city theater. Instead of sitting on the street 
it was much more pleasant to sit in the theater seats. We took 
a few rows in the back of the theater and one little unit took 

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the st age ana to have .ore priv acy they pulle<J 
It as oooa Friday . M course that wasn , t 

night either, for to try to sleep in . theater 3ea t in . sitting 
position i. not comfortable, however it was better than the night 


Early in the morning when we started to wake up and stretch 
ourselves, and try to find out where we could wash and get some 
thing to eat, a strange dramatic event occurred. We suddenly 
heard a pistol shot on the stage behind the curtain, and then 
a body fell through the slit between the curtains down into the 
orchestra pit. Somebody, one of the young men, couldn't stand 
this whole thing anymore, and shot himself. it was so strangely 

It was Saturday, and Saturday night we would ordinarily 
have attended Easter midnight service, but in Kerch we didn't 
even know where the church was. However, then a little miracle 
happened. In the evening we were sitting in despair in that 
theater, it was still raining outside when some nice ladies of 
Kerch came in bringing some ham and a little kulich. the tradi 
tional sweet Russian bread. So each of us got a little piece 
of ham and a little slice of that bread. Traditionally we should 
have waited until midnight when 'Christ is risen 1 is said in 
church before we ate, but we were so hungry that we violated the 
fast rules eating that ham and bread immediately and then went 

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service in Russia. We couldn't see 

Shortly after that 
Of the White flrmy . General 

of the White Army, all of which was now concentrated in the 
Crimea, surrounded by a sea of Reds, was taken over by General -,, 

On the 1st of April all of us with appropriate educational 
background, that is those who had completed gymnasium, were rsl 
called up by our commanding officer who told us that by order of 
General Wrangel we were assigned to the military academy. Actu 
ally it was like an officers candidate school, and would be 
called General Kornilov's Military Academy in Kerch. Well, that 

was a big change. The academy was located in the big building 

of the gymnasium. 

Chapter 26 Scenario V 

Assignment to the military academy was quite a very reward 
ing experience, because through all the suffering of the retreat 
we had deteriorated into a band of unruly soldiers, not a really 
proper military unit, and everything changed overnight. On the 
1st of April we became cadets with strict discipline and order. 

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The greatest relief of course was that we were lodged in the * 
former classroom of the gymnasium, that we had beds to sleep on, 
that the feeding was organized, we had breakfast, lunch and sup 
per. It was not very sufficient as far as calories were con 
cerned, but still we started to eat regularly. Then we started 
immediately with the drill, like basic training in the American 
army. We were drilled very rapidly; at the same time we had to 
attend classes, taking various subjects, tactics, fortification, 
and so forth. One of the most rewarding experiences for me was 
shortly after the beginning of the functioning of the military 
academy at one of the morning formations the commanding general 
of the Academy, General Protozanov came up to read the order of 
the day, and then he read an order by the supreme commander, 
General Wrangel, in which I and a couple of other men were 
awarded the St. George Cross, the most coveted decoration in the 
Russian army. The orders read that we were decorated for brav 
ery in climbing up on top of the armored train and with our 
machine gun helping the infantry to seize the Navagin Ridge and 
helping that infantry unit to break through the Red lines. The 
captain who led the infantry, Captain Grauag, by the same order 
was promoted to colonel. I was elated. The coveted St. George 

Cross was mine. 

The cadets of the new military academy were divided into two 
groups, those who had never served in military units, who had 

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just graduated from gymnasium and so forth and didn't know much 
about military life, and we sho had military experience. There 
fore we were put in charge of drills etc. Since I was considered 
an experienced machine gunner I was attatched to the machine gun 
unit and I had to train the cadets in handling machine guns. We 
were actually drilled from the early hours of the morning, 5:30, 
until very late in the evening, but in a short time we started 
to represent a really smart military unit. Then one day it was 
announced that the supreme commander, General Wrangel, was going 
to visit Kerch to see all the units there and we started to pre 
pare for parade march. Those preparations took us a couple of 
days but we really marched very smartly. I will never forget 
the big parade in Kerch when I first saw General Wrangel, a tall 
man in Caucasian tunic uniform; he addressed us; the cadets, and 
we answered him in unison. Later on at the formation we were 
told that General Wrangel was very pleased at our appearance, 
at our march, etc. 

Well life continued. In my free time I tried first of all 
to find out about the fate of my family, father, mother and sis 
ter. The only way to do this was to get in touch with my cousin 
who was an officer in the navy of the Black Sea. I sent a letter 
to Sevastopol to the Navy Department asking them to forward that 
letter to the First Lieutenant of the Navy Nicholas Ulozovskii 
(who passed away in Nice, France on January 22, 1975) and to my 

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wonderful surprise I received a letter from him one day in which 
he informed me that he was already in touch with our family, that 
they had safely escaped from Odessa before its capture by the 
Bolsheviks, and had settled in Varna, Bulgaria. So I started 
to await news directly from my family. Then I got a letter from 
my family in which my mother wrote that she was trying to get 
from Varna to the Crimea, that is, to Kerch, to see me. In the 
meantime the fate of the White Army became more rosy. General 
Wrangel first of all managed to restore discipline among the White 
soldiers and cceate well disciplined units. We managed to break 
out from the Crimea Peninsula into the plain of South Russia and 
the army again started to advance. There were some ambitious 
plans forthcoming. First of all one operation was planned to 
cross the river Dnepr to its right bank and then to spread oat, 
and then probably send an amphibious operation to capture Odessa, 
and the other one was to have an amphibious operation on the 
shores of the Caucasus . There was information from the Caucasus 
that many cossacks who had been fighting with us in the White 
Army who were reluctant to leave their home towns in the Kuban 
were revolting against the Reds, and were ready to help us in 
case we came to the Caucasus with ammunition and weapons. So in 
addition to regular studies and drills in the military academy 
we gradually started to prepare ourselves for forthcoming mili 
tary operations, because we were told that because of the short- 

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age of troops the military academies would also be thrown into 
the battle. 

The Reds were constantly sending their spies and saboteurs 
across this very narrow strait on our side to Crimea. Once our 
battalion of military cadets was sent to occupy a position on 
the shoreline to prevent and possibly capture some of these 
saboteurs. Also that was good training for us in preparation 
for a landing operation. 

On our return from that short assignment we senior cadets 
ware moved from the gymnasium building to a former tobacco fac 
tory on the beach, on the outskirts of the city. It was not 
far from the old Kerch fortress, where the garrison commander 
of the Kerch area had his residence and headquarters. By that 
time the food situation had deteriorated and we felt hungry all 
day. We were given very little bread and some local little fish, 
called khamsa, shich looked like anchovies. We were sick and 
tired of those fish. I even got so sick after eating some of 
them that I had to be taken to the hospital for a few days. But 

we could do nothing. That was the overall situation in the 

.;;; foi a 

Crimea. We were hoping for the harvest from the area north of 
the Crimea, taken over from the Reds; that would relieve the 
situation a little bit. 

The Reds were very active in the Kerch area. One night I 
was assigned to duty to a duty platoon on the ready in case of 
any emergency. Then a duty officer came at midnight with a list 

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of cadets and awakening us, said 'Go fast and noiselessly down 
stairs and fall into formation. ' We were all there in a very 
short time and the battalion commander came and told us the fol 
lowing. He said early in the night a group of Red saboteurs had 
come across the Kerch Strait and had gone to the railroad sta 
tion, where they threw some hand grenades, and killed some 
people and now the local police were unable to capture them, they 
had called for help from the cadets as the most reliable unit in 
the city. So we were called and a big truck was brought in and 
we went in the direction of the railroad station. There we were 
assigned a perimeter near the station and ordered to go into 
every house and search for saboteurs. There were quite a few 
sympathizers of the Reds so we had to be very cautious. We had 
to go in twos. So my friend and I went on that search operation 
from one place to another, asking people if they had seen anyone 
and everyone answered 'No, no one, no one. ' Finally we came to 
a house and looked all through is, even under the bed, then came 
into the yard. I noticed that in the corner of the yard the 
straw was piled up in a rather strange way, too high up for a 
small quantity of straw. So with my rifle I just poked at that 
straw, and suddenly the straw fell down and I saw a young woman. 

'What are you doing?' I said. 

'Oh, ' she said, 'I came by the late train and it was too 
late to go anywhere so I decided to stay here. ' 

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'Stay here, covered with straw?' I took her by the hand, 
pulled .ier out of that place, and we immediately contacted our 
officers and the police. The local policeman came and searched 
her and found that she had lots of money hidden under her blouse; 
she was probably one of that party of saboteurs. Then we heard 
pistol shots in the distance and we realized that we had appar 
ently come across that group of saboteurs. By daylight three men 
and this woman had been captured. They were taken for interro 
gation by the police and we returned to our military academy. 
That was quite an exciting night. 

A few days after that the local police came to us and said 
that every night they saw in a certain area of the city signals 
by light coming out from a house, but they couldn't locate that 
house. When we looked the next night in the direction the police 
officer pointed out we saw that somebody was indeed signalling 
with a light to the Reds across the strait. By daylight we 
couldn't distinguish among the small tightly packed houses where 
that particular house was. Then somebody had a bright idea. We 
had among our weapons an old French machine gun called a Pieton 
with a fluorescent front sight. We decided to use this to point 
at that building the next night. So the machine gun with its 
stand was brought up on a balcony on the upper floor of our 
building and placed there and when the signalling started we 
aimed our gun at that window of an unknown house. A guard was 

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put near the machine gun so that no one would move it in any way. 
As soon as it was daybreak we identified the house and the window 
and after that the police managed to capture the Red sympathizers. 

About three weeks later, again at night, somebody awakened 
me and again I saw the face of the company commander who again 
was looking at the list and he told me to get dressed quietly 
and go down. We assembled and ne then addressed the whole group. 
He said that the Red saboteurs captured three weeks before had 
been condemned to death, with the exception of the woman, who 
got only a prison term. The execution would be by hanging that 
night and since we had information that some Red sympathizers 
would try to interfere our platoon was ordered to see to it 
that the execution of these three men was carried out. 

Well we cadets didn't quite like that mission, and moreover 
after we were told that even the local police were not very 
reliable and that if at the place of execution they refused to 
hang these men we were to kill both the police officers who were 
there and the three Red saboteurs. I was ordered to take a 
light Lewis machine gun. We again climbed on the truck and went 
through the quiet city and went to the other end of the city 
where the prison was. It was a kind of eery, strange night. At 
the same time there was a bright moon but a dark cloud with thun 
der claps was approaching from the west. 

We came to the prison, jumped down from the truck and 

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awaited orders. Here I saw a dramatic scene. There was one lit 
window facing the street from the prison. Inside I saw two 
prison guards and a priest, and the condemned men brought into 
that room. Two of them kneeled and kissed the cross and were 
taken away, but when the third, a big man with bushy hair, was 
brought in and the priest came to him with the cross he extended 
his arm and pushed the cross away and shook his head and started 
to say something. Then the guard came in and took him away. 

Shortly after that all three prisoners under heavy guard 
were brought to the truck. They were seated in the middle of 
the truck with their hands handcuffed behind them, and we, the 
cadets, were seated around them. I, with my machine gun, sat in 
the back corner. And we started that sad trip toward the place 
of execution which was the old fortress. Our route led us 
through the workers' quarter of the city and it was expected 
that here an attempt might be made to free the prisoners. Here 
a strange thing happened. Suddenly the truck stopped. The 
officer in charge of our unit immediately ordered a few cadets 
to jump out of the truck, ordered me to have my machine gun on 
the ready and I noticed that a commotion had started among the 
seated prisoners. They were whispering something to each other. 
Of course the officer rushed to the driver of the truck. The 
driver said it was just something with the engine, but we didn't 
like it and we didn't trust the driver, so the officer pulled out 
a pistol and told the driver to move or else. I don't know 

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whether the driver was involved in the plot or not, but the 
engine started to purr again and we jumped back on the truck and 
moved to the fortress without any further incident. 

When we arrived at the fortress the first light had begun 
to appear on the horizon to the east. And I saw that three 
nooses were hanging from the unfinished construction in the 
fortress. The prisoners were taken to that place, were given 
cigarettes which we helped them to light and then we surrounded 
the whole area. There were several policemen around and the 
district attorney who started to read the sentence. I remember 
the names of two of the men. One bore the name of the father 
of the White Army, Kornilov, and the other the last one 
the big, tall, bushy-haired man was Schmidt. The paper stated 
that they were sentenced to death by hanging for sabotage in 

The first to be hanged was the man named Kornilov. A little 
bench was brought up on which the condemned man had to step and 
then the noose was placed around his neck. He was asked whether 
he wanted to say something. He didn't say a word and then the 
bench was knocked out from under him and the body fell down. 
The body fell down but the feet of the condemned man touched 
the ground and the body started moving back and forth and I 
heard with disgust the hissing sound of air coming from his con 
stricted throat. The police officers immediately pulled the rope 

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higher and the man was dead. 
Chapter 27 Scenario V 

The second man when asked if he had something to say, said 
'Yes, I would like that you carry a message to my daughter and 
tell her that while dying I was thinking only of her. 1 He was 
then executed. 

The third and last man was the big husky and bushy-haired 
Schmidt who had refused the cross when the priest offered it to 
him in the prison. Since he was very tall and since he saw what 
happened to the first man who in the process of being hanged had 
touched the ground, he said 'Don't you think' he was very 
calm 'you had better raise up the noose because I am a tall 
man and I might hit the ground like the first man. ' The police 
officer ordered that, and they made a few knots on the rope so 
that the noose was higher. Then he stepped on the bench. I saw 
that he was trying to get into the noose, but his hands were 
tied behind him. Apolice officer thought that he was hesitant 
or something, and said, 'Why are you torturing yourself and us? 
Go ahead, get your head in the noose. ' He said 'Well I am try 
ing but I can't because itte a little bit too...' Then he said 
'Alright, I can. ' Then he was asked if he had anything to say 
and here he started shouting: 'The day will come when all you 
White bandits will be wiped out! I hate you, and long live 
Soviet Bolshevik rule! etc., etc. 1 He was getting madder and 

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madder and the police were looking on doing nothing umtil finally 
our officer in charge of the detachment rushed forward and 
knocked the bench from under him and his huge body hung up. 
After that we turned around and marched toward the truck and were 
taken back to the military academy. When we got back I had a bad 
taste in my mouth. I really hated the whole scene. 

Several years after that when I was already in the emigra 
tion in Belgrade, I read in the Soviet press about a big solemn 
ceremony in Kerch when the Soviet government built a monument 
to these three men and their bodies were buried in a central 
place in the park facing the sea, on the seashore. 

In the meantime we continued preparations for the amphib 
ious operation. It was already the second part of July and we 
were ready to go; we knew that we would go to the shores of the 
Caucasus. All the free time that we had. from lectures we spent 
on maneuvers, firing practice and so forth. I was made a pla 
toon leader of that operation, and was particularly busy with 
the machine guns of my platoon. 

Shortly before we went on our operation, which was highly 
classified as a secret operation, my mother came from Varna via 
Sevastopol to Kerch. Only then did I discover that there were 
some relatives of ours living in Kerch. She came to stay with 
them and came to see me. Our reunion was a glorious moment; 



en; L'-. 

she told me how they had escaped from Odessa and so forth, how 
they were living in Varna, and how she had managed to come to 
the Crimea. 

I met my relatives. They were second cousins, one of whom 
much later on married Aunt Asia who was with the United Nations. 
We are still in correspondence. Her husband was one of the 
officers living there in Kerch. I visited whith them and mother 
several times and it was a wonderful departure from the routine 
of the academy. Particulary they ate differently than we did 
in the academy; we were practically on starvation rations. 

I also saw my cousin who came to Kerch with his submarine, 
the A G 22. It was American made. They invited me aboard the 
submarine; I visited with my cousin and met all the officers of 
that submarine and had a good time. 

The main thing was that with the aid of Nicholas Ulozovskii, 
my first cousin, my mother had arranged that I be transferred 
from this military academy to the naval academy in Sevastopol, 
that the orders were already cut for that transfer, and that I 
had better get ready and go. I had some mixed feelings about 
that. I had always wanted to be a navy man; I loved and still 
love everything connected with the sea, but I could not aban 
don my friends and leave the school when we were ready to go 
into battle, particulary because I was responsible for this 
little machine gun platoon. I didn't want to alarm mother, so 

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I told her 'Alright, I will go, but we are going first on some 
long maneuvers. After we return I will be ready for the trans 
fer. ' It was decided that we sould meet the next morning, but 
around three oclock in the morning we were awakened by an alert 
and marched to the landing craft. 

We boarded the craft and put out to sea. It was the 2nd of 
August 1920. 

Months later mother told me that she came to the military 
academy in the morning, found it empty and was told that we had 
already embarked on the amphibious operation. She then returned 
to our relatives in Kerch and from there went by way of Simferopol, 
where we had some other relatives, to Sevastopol, where she stayed 
with my first cousin Nicholas Ulozovskii until I returned from 
the amphibious operation after being badly wounded. 

Our landing craft was a huge barge towed by a little boat, 
and we were accompanied by other ships; there was an ice breaker 
with heavy artillery mounted on it, etc. An ice breaker of course 
was not needed as such at that season, but that was the type of 

My cousin's submarine, the AG-22, was to play an important 
role in this operation. They landed on the shore of the Caucasus 
ahead of our outfit, with an advance detachment of scouts whose 
task was to prepare first of all a landing place for us and then 
to get in touch with the cossacks who were revolting against the 

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Reds. The man assigned that dangerous task was a Colonel Lebedev. 
Strangely enough, after many years I met him in New York in 1952. 

It was awfully hot and unpleasant in that barge. We were 
packed like sardines and we travelled the whole day and waited 
at sea until the early hours of the next night, when we approached 
the place where we were to land. It was Cape Utrishok, between 
the ports of Anapa and Novorossiisk. We had already been told 
during one of the lectures on tactics what we were supposed to 
do. We were not the main landing force. Our task was to demon 
strate an amphibious operation and draw the Soviet forces on out 
detachment which was small. Altogether there were 1200 men, of 
which our academy was one battalion, of 300 cadets. The others 
were some cossack units with two mountain artillery guns. That 
was all. The commanding general of the expedition was General 
Cherepov and the commanding officer of our cadet battalion was 
General Montezanov. The battalion commander was Colonel lakhnov; 
he was a little hard of hearing, but a very brave man. 

Here I have to describe something that happened just shortly 
before we went on that landing operation. I will never forget 
that day. It was a Sunday and all of the cadets were assembled 
at the church. At the end of the service the priest told us 
that he had heard that we were going into the battle and accord 
ing to Christian ritual we had to say our praye.vs and confess 
our sins and get holy communion, but since he said there was not 

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time for individual confessions he would give that confession 
to the entire battalion. So we kneeled and that was an unfor 
gettable scene. Then he started to say certain things; he said 
'I sinned in that, and sinned in that, ' and we repeated that and 
prayed. Tears were rolling down his cheeks as he was doing that. 
And after that we all took holy communion. When we finished that 
the service was ended and we stood in formation near the church, 
then the battalion commander. Colonel lakhnov, came out and said 
a few words: 'Cadets, don't be afraid of death. Death in battle 
is like the peace of a beloved woman. Don't be afraid of death; 
you just confessed your sins, you got holy ocmmunion and God 
will spare your lives. ' And he was crying. 

Well, that was shortly before we went on the landing opera 
tion. Now we saw the silhouette of the Caucasus Mountains in 
front of us and then we saw a little light on the beach. That 
was the fire made by our advance party, landed by the submarine, 
which marked the place for our landing. So we went straight in 
the direction of that light. By the time that we we e disem 
barking it was already bright daylight. There were no Reds 
around so we disembarked like we had during maneuvers and exer 
cises, with no firing or anything. 

As a matter of fact it was so peaceful that after feeling 
so hot in that barge during our sea voyage I had even time to 
undress and rush into the water and had a wonderful swim but I 


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had bardly managed to dress when I heard my name being called. 
I was told to take a light Lewis machine gun, jump on a little 
carriage driven by two horses and with a detachment of six other 
cadets go reconnoiter the roads leading up the mountains. I was 
told that being the senior, being already at the time a kind of 
higher ranking cadet, as they say in Russian Starshii portupei 
iunker, I was in charge of that detachment. One cadet was given 
a horse, and he was riding it. 

So our little group started to move up a hill on a narrow 
and winding road. I was told that we would reach a certain 
point on the intersection of the road and that friendly cossacks, 
the so-called Greens, but White-Greens, would be waiting for us 
with harnessed oxen and lots of carriages which we would have 
to bring back to the main landing force. 

So we were driving up when suddenly the man that was going 
in front of us on horseback stopped and raised his hands. Then 
I saw two cavalrymen coming in our direction. I thought at first 
that it was two of our cossacks, but then I saw that they were 
taking up their rifles and I realized that they were Reds, that 
it was a Red reconnaissance patrol. We jumped from our little 
carriage and rushed toward them. Before they could open fire we 
dragged one of them from his horse, however the other one turned 
and at full gallop managed to excape. 

The one we captured was trembling, a very young fellow. 

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I asked him what his mission was, and where had he come from. 
He said his detachment was in Abraude usol, a famous place in 
the Caucasus, a little place famous for its champaigne; there 
was a champaigne factory there. They were reconnoitering the 
seashore because they knew that the Whites were coming, so our 
secrecy was no good; they knew that we were coming. We didn't 
know what to do with him, so we disarmed him, I took all his 
documents, and we continued. When we reached the intersection, 
we saw to our dismay that the oxen were not there. I asked him 
what had happened and he said 'Oh we chased them away.' Some 
of my cadets wanted to shoot him at this point, but I said ''Oh 
no, we are going to send him back, ' and sent two cadets back 
with him to our headquarters on the beach. I ordered the two 
cadets who were taking the prisoner to report that we could not 
find the oxen and therefore we were not sending anything back 
to them but were continuing forward because we wanted to get in 
touch with the cossacks who revolted against the Reds, who were 
supposed to be in that area. 

We crossed the mountain ridge and started to descend into 
the valley, going at full speed, and suddenly saw a group of 
about twenty or thirty people standing there with .vifles on the 
ready. We were going so fast we could barely stop ou: horses. 
As we approached them I saw white ribbons on their fur hats, so 
I realized that they were not Reds but Whites. They identified 

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themselves as the rebels who had risen against the Reds. We 
joined forces and they said they were waiting for another group 
to come soon and guided us to another crossroad and we waited 
there for the group that they said would come there. However 
there was something about these men that I did not quite trust. 
I knew that I was on enemy territory, and that they were capable 
of any kind of ruse. So, when we reached the point where we 
ware supposed to wait I maneuvered myself so that my back was 
against a big tree, placed my machine gun in front of me on the 
ready, and whispered to one of my machinegunners 'Listen, if 
anything suspicious starts, keep close to me, tell the other 
cadets to close ranks around me and I will take care of the 
rebels with my machine gun. ' 

But everything was alright; the cossacks brought us some 
food. I was so delighted, we got finally fresh tomatoes, some 
bacon and wonderful bread. 

'Where are you getting this? 1 I asked. 

'Oh, ' they said, 'in a nearby villager we go there eve .y 
night and there are some contacts of ours who hide us and help 
us with our food and so forth. However we lack ammunition and 
we know that you are bringing us ammunition. ' Actually we were 
bringing lots of rifles and ammunition for these people. 

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on the machine gun and asked one of the cadets to be always on 
the watch and immediately nudge me if something suspicious hap 
pened. Then around midnight we heard the hoofs of horses and 
some voices. 

I ordered an alert, but the cossacks said 'Don't you worry, 
our people are coming. ' And as it turned out the people who 
came carried some burning torches and were accompanied by a 
man in a colonel's uniform. I recongnized him as Colonel Lebedev. 
I reported to him at once, and described the situation. He 
thanked me and said he knew about that; he was already in contact 
with the main forces of our detachment, 

Chapter 28 Scenario V 

and that our main force from the beach was already on the move. 

Early in the morning I heard rifle and machine gun fire 
coming from the area of the beach and the mountains. We we:.e 
all on the alert and gradually our cadets started coming in 
together with wome other infantrymen. Then the commanding general 
of the amphibious operation, Gene al Cherpov came and we learned 
that a very bad situation had developed on the beach. That 
morning, the entire amphibious group had started moving up the 
hill along the same road that I and my six cadets had gone up 
first, leaving only a little detachment of about 12 cadets and 
an officer to guard our base, including a very large amount of 

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ammunition, provisions, etc. which we had unloaded on the beach. 
The entire landing detachment was moving along that road, which 
unfortunately was the only road, with very little area on either 
side where you could place reconnaissance units. 

While they were climbing, the Reds suddenly attacked the 
middle of the column, and there was a very bad battle in which 
many people were killed and wounded. They captured our field 
kitchen and killed the cooks, and cut our long column in two. 
The fighting was going on because we heard machine gun fire all 
the time, and rifle shots. We heard that the tail of our column 
had managed to break through, but the Reds had captured our land 
ing place and we didn't know what had happened to the detachment 
that we left there. 

Then our reconnaissance reported that some other Red forces 
had started moving on the other side, so gradually all our com 
panies were sent into battle on the little perimeter that we 
occupied. The center of that perimeter was a huge oak tree 
under which the staff was assembled, and I was attatched with 
two machine guns to be at the disposal of the staff nea that 
oak tree. There were also two nurses, ve y dear girls we liked 
them, and flirted with them. The battle was raging all around 
us, and the reports were very discouraging, there was no longer 
any chance for us to break through as had been planned. We were 
supposed to move farther inland to reach a certain place called 

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Raevskaia and if we succeeded in getting more cossacks on our 
side to go forward and try to break through to a station called 
Panernaia, which was a very important junction on the railroad to 
Novorossiisk. But all that had to be abandoned because overwhelm 
ing forces of Reds now surrounded our amphibious unit in that 
little perimeter that we occupied. So we were in the mountains, 
our base on the beach was taken by the Reds, and we were prac 
tically surrounded. Actually there were only two companies left 
of our fourth battalion, near the headquarters. The next day, 
toward evening, I was called to the staff. A staff meeting was 
going on. There was General Cherepov, commander of the landing 
operation group, General Protozanov, superintendant of our cadet 
school, and other staff officers. I was called in and told that 
at 5 oclock in the morning one company, the second company, 
would be ordered to move back to the beach by another road and 
try to recapture our base with all this material that we had, 
and that my two machine guns would be sent with that company. 
That was the greenest company in our academy? they were just 
newly assigned boys who had recently graduated from the high 
schools, etc., so they had never smelled powder. What they had 
to face early the next morning would be their first battle. 
I was told that we had to wait for a guide, a local man, who 
would lead us along a very intricate path to the beach. 

Well, I returned to await the morning, and there was that 
nurse, with whom I was flirting a little bit. In my boxes of 

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machine gun cartridges one box was empty, which I, knowing that 
it might be needed, filled up with cans of corned beef. I have 
loved corned beef ever since that time, it tasted so delicious 
to me then. It was Australian corned beef, though some of our 
smart alecks said that it was made of monkey meat. So, that 
nurse and I, we spent a romantic night eating corned beef sand 
wiches . 

At 5 oclock, early in the morning, we were ready to go, 
but the guide who was supposed to lead the company and my little 
machine gun platoon was delayed. And here was an interesting 
thing; if I ever had a premonition it certainly was at this 
time, this waiting and waiting for departure into battle. It 
was a most unpleasant experience. I felt that something prob 
ably would happen; I fell asleep, and only about 10 oclock the 
guide finally came and we moved. It was the 6th of August 1920 
and beastly hot weather. 

My machine guns and other packs were put on the carriage 
with two horses and the company I forget the name of the 
commander moved with the company sergeant, a cadet, Sergeant 
Noshenko, who was a good friend of mine. The deputy commander 
was Lieutenant Colonel Falk. So we were going down the hill 
toward the seashore. By the time we reached the seashore we 
were completely exhausted from the heat, tired of going on the 
steep hills along the very narrow steep roads. We drank all the 

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water that we were carrying in our water flasks, and we were 
still thirsty. When we came finally close to the sea we saw an 
abandoned well; we could see some water in it, so we put our 
flasks on belts and tried to get some water; when we brought it 
up it smelled terribly, but we were so thirsty that we drank it 
anyway. I filled up my flask with that stinking water and we 
moved forward. 

We started to go very cautiously, because it was only about 
a mile from the point where we landed and at any moment we could 
confront the Bolshevik troops. 

The day before we had heard heavy shelling coming from the 
sea, from heavy guns; we didn't know what was going on; we knew 
only that there was a heavy gun shelling some object along the 
waterfront, so se sent patrols on both sides and through the 
bushes which grew parallel to the beach and tried to hide, 
because if we all walked on the open beach we would be detected 
immediately. The configuration of the terrain was this: there 
was a beach, there was shrubbery, bushes, and immediately after 
that a steep hill coming up to our left. Finally we reached the 
point where we were sure that it was already the place where we 
were disembarked, so the whispered command was given to stop, 
and spread out. 

Unfortunately there was very little room for maneuver 
because of the narrow area between the beach and the mountain 

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that rose pretty high on our left. So we started again to lose 
contact with each other through that heavy brush and bushes. 
Two men, I still remember the faces of those two boys, were 
sent as a forward scout group to see what was going on. And 
this was very unfortunate, that two inexperienced boys were sent 
on that reconnaissance patrol. They went up forward and I sent 

one of my heavy machine guns (a Vickers) to the left toward the 
rising hill and a light machine gun with two cadets in charge 
of it, and I went with them. We positioned ourselves in the 
bushes closer to the scene. So these two boys went forward. 
Shortly afterward we heard rifle shote, then silence for a mom 
ent, and then whistles. Someone had a whistle and was giving a 
signal. Before we knew what had happened, the Reds opened up 
on us with machine guns. It was devastating, because soon 
several cadets were hit, and I heard some moaning and crying. 
We were hit by machine gun fire without seeing the enemy because 
of the bushes. I didn't see the company commander he was 
probably back somewhere he didn't even have a chance to give 


a command. So Sergeant Nosenko assumed command, and he ordered 
the cadets to move forward, so we could see, but we were under 
such heavy fire, from two or three machine guns at one time, 
that it was very hard to do anything. I knew that our salvation 
lay in our machine guns, therefore I shouted to the left toward 
the men who were manning the heavy machine guns to move forward 


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and I myself with these two boys who were manning the light 
machine guns moved forward. But before the heavy machine guns 
could open fire the machine gunners, the cadets, were killed 
there. I didn't know that, but I didn't hear any machine gun 
fire from ours, so I ordered my boys to move ve.vy cautiously 
forward, until finally I could see the Bolshevik machine guns 
firing at us. They were firing from a slightly elevated base 
near a house around which was stored all our baggage, all the 
boxes with ammunition and everything that we had brought with 
us while landing at that place. Also I saw the bodies of the 
two cadets who were sent on the forward patrol. One was killed 
and one heavily wounded; we managed to drag him away and he told 
the story of what had happened. When they came upon the boxes, 
they saw that some boxes were broken by artillery shells that 
we had been firing the day before. That was from our ships, at 
sea, when they learned that the Reds had captured our landing 
site. All the cadets who were defending that place killed 
or captured, except one named Rybak, who although wounded in 
the chest managed to swim and was picked up by boats sent by 
one of the navy ships that was firing at the Reds. When we came 
to that place the navy ships were still standing near the posi 
tion which we ware taking, awaiting signals from us for artillery 
support, but at this point there was nothing that we could do. 
The boy who was wounded in that forward patrol told what 

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happened later in the hospital and it was the stupidest 
thing that one could imagine. He said that when they came to 
the point and saw that they were at the point of our landing they 
saw that several Bolshevik soldiers were peacefully playing cards 
on the grass. Instead of returning at once and reporting what 
they had seen, one of them raised his rifle and fired a shot 
into that group. People immediately jumped up, realizing that 
we were there, they whistled commands, and opened fire in our 
direction. As I said it was unfortunate that green untrained men 
were sent on patrol duty toward the enemy lines. 

I was lying with two of my boys; one asked me what kind of 
gun sight to use. I said 'Well, it is such a short distance 
that you can just fire directly on the target without raising 
the sight. He started to fire but was immediately hit by a 
bullet. He was badly hit, in his stomach, apparently, and he 
rolled in front of the machine gun. I thought he was dead. 
I looked back and saw that the other man, who was supposed to 
bring me ammunition, had also been hit. He raised his right 
hand, which was a bloody mess; as I learned later he lost three 
fingers on his right hand, and was also grazed by a bullet on 
his left. He looked terrible, so I shouted to him to throw to 
me the ammunition; he did throw the packages of cartridges, and 
I managed the machine gun myself. I tried to steady my nerves, 
pulled a little bit behind the bush so they wouldn't see me and 


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opened fire. 

I saw very well; my aim was good and I managed to silence 
one of the machine guns at least, because it stopped firing. 
Perhaps they had moved to another position, but I was sure that 
I had forced them to stop. 

At the same time I was disturbed at hearing that individual 
rifle shots were coming from somewhere on that mountain on the 
left. I looked there and saw that the Reds weie coming on the 
top of that little mountain looking down at our cadets and 
aiming individually at them and firing at them, and that their 
line was coming on farther and farther, so that if they were 
not stopped they would surround us. 

There was no time left, so on the spur of the moment I 
decided to turn around and stop that group of Reds who were 
going on the top of that elevation to the rear of our boys, who 
were all lying down in those bushes under heavy machine gun 
fire, and who couldn't even open fire because they couldn't see 
anything; I was probably the only one who was firing at the Reds. 

But now in my haste I failed to take precautionary measures. 
I should have pulled behind a bush and then turned and aimed my 
machine guns on that mountain to stop those people, but being 
in a hurry I turned in the position where I was and thus exposed 
myself to the Reds for they apparently saw me. I managed to 
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they stopped their penetration toward the rear of our group. 
But, I exposed myself. I immediately detected machine gun fire 
concentrated on me, so I turned back again toward that, and the 
bullets were hitting the ground in front of me and pieces of 
sand and earth were flying into my eyes. I was trying to clear 
my sight and to fire, when at that moment one bullet hit, graz 
ing the machine gun and next something hit my left elbow. It 
felt as if someone had hit me with a big stick; the only thing 
I noticed was that my left hand from my elbow down started to 
jump convulsively, without any control. I was wounded, and bleed 
ing so rapidly that the blood burst into my face. At the same 
time I noticed that the first cadet, who was wounded in the 
stomach, started to moan; he was lying in front of me, my machine 
gun over his head. I didn't know what to do. There was an 
understanding between us cadets that if at any time we had to 
leave a wounded friend alone in retreat we had to kill him to 
save him from torture. So I remembered that I had my Browning 
pistol, but I couldn't do anything because my left arm was dis 
abled and I couldn't pull the trigger. I knew that my machine 
bun was the only chance for salvation of the company, so I stood 
up, already losing consciousness apparently, almost completely 
blind because I had lost so much blood, picked up the machine 
gun and said a little prayer for my friend. His name was 
Kortiev, by the way; he was a Caucasian Ingush type. I recently 


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read in the local newspaper here in the United States of a woman 
named Kortieva; I wrote her adking if it could be he 1 - relative 
and she replied that it was one of her brothers. 

I started moving back, losing more and more blood, and 
finally lost consciousness and fell down. I came to my senses 
to find two cadets tightly binding my arm to stop the bleeding. 
They stopped the flow of blood, but completely constricted any 
blood circulation in the rest of my arm. I was so thirsty I 
only asked 'Water, water, water! 1 

"We don't have water, ' they said. 

'I don't care,' I said. 'Bring me sea water!' 

Chapter 29 Scenario V 

At this point it is important to recapitulate this battle 
because for me it was the last battle in which I participated in 
the civil war. Thereafter I was unable to take part in any other 
action because as a result of that battle and my wound I lost my 
left arm. That changed my destiny completely, because from that 
point on I could never rely on manual work, but only on my intel 
lect, because I was an invalid, with only one arm left. 

I have to describe the whole situation and what happened to 
our amphibious force. We had landed quite safely at Cape Utrish 
or Utrishok; we managed to disembark all of the ammunition and 
provisions for the "Greens, " cossacks who reportedly in large 

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strength had rebelled against the communists, and then we had 
several tasks to perform, one of which was to make a demonstra 
tion and attract the Red forces toward us while the main amphibi 
ous effort was planned a few days after ours, to go across the 
Taman Strait to the shore of the Caucasus across that narrow 
strait facing the Kerch Peninsula. 

From the very beginning we were unlucky; we managed to get 
from the landing area into the mountains, but were surrounded 
by overwhelming forces of Reds and our little landing group of 
1200 men, which included a battalion of 300 cadets of the mili 
tary academy. Our base on the beach was captured by the Reds., 
and we were surrounded. The company to which my machine guns 
were attatched had the task of trying to break through that ^ ing 
of Reds to the beach and recapture our base, since we we 1 e think 
ing only of retreating and again boarding the landing ships 
which were standing out at sea and going back to join the main 
amphibious effort in Kerch. However, the company to which I was 
attatched, about 60 men strong under normal circumstances it 
was the strength of one platoon was compsed of youths who were 
never in battle before, and only a few people such as myself and 
another machine gunner, the sergeant of the company and his 
deputy, were more or less experienced in battle. While we man 
aged to reach the shore of the Black Sea safely, and started mov- 

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found itself in the heavy bushes that were growing along the 
sandy beach and due to the stupidity of our fo ward reconnais 
sance patrol before the company managed to prepare fo battle 
we were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire of the Reds. 
Unfortunately the heavy machine gun on the left of me, manned 
by three men, stopped functioning because all three men were 
killed, almost before they managed to fire a shot. The cadets 
with rifles couldn't do anything; they were just pinned down 
and lying down flat, they couldn't fire because they weuld hit 
their own people, so I managed to move forward and finally to 
see the red machine guns, very close by. My number one machine 
gunner opened fire and was wounded in the stomach, and a second 
member of the machine gun crew, Troianov, was wounded too, and so 
I had to take a machine gun. I managed to stop the fire of the 
one machine gun, probably forced them to retire or killed the 
crew, stopping the dangerous penetration of the Reds on the 
elevated area who were trying to get behind my group. When I 
was wounded I was lying down while firing the machine gun 
the bullet pierced my arm below the elbow. It was a very little 
one; the doctor afterward said he could scarcely see it, but 

t '(; 

since it was such a short distance from the machine gun that 
fired it, the bullet apparently was moved from its trajectory by 
the bone, and made havoc of the upper side of my arm above the 
elbow, where a chunk of flesh was torn off and all the arteries 

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and veins were cut out. I started bleeding so badly that ray face 
and hair were all covered with blood. When I stood up I was 
covered with blood. I lost consciousness, asked for water and 
finally they managed to bring me sea water. To compensate for 
the loss of liquid in my body I drank about half a gallon of 
sea water. That helped me, and they also stopped the bleeding. 

When I came back to my senses I asked about the machine gun. 
"Who of you knows how to fire it, " I said. 

"I knowj',orie said, "you taught us how to do it." 

"You continue firing, " I said, "for the Reds may continue 
movin after us, and fire in that general direction so they know 
we are still here and we are fighting." 

Only my machine gun was firing; nobody else was, if we 
stopped firing the Reds would certainly move after us. 

At one point the cadet who fired the machine gun said that 
it had jammed. Well, I explained what to do, and he managed to 
reload and continue firing with short bursts of fire; that was 
all that we needed. Then a medical nurse, a girl, came not 
the one who shared the corned beef sandwiches with me, but 
another one they were brave girls, they we e with us in the 
front lines. "Oh, I need to do some work on you," she said. 
At that time each of us had a so-called Japanese first aid kit, 
a little ampule of iodine wrapped up with two bandages. She 
had a little bit more medical supplies so she started to dress 


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my wound in a more professional way, but there came heavy 
machine gun fire from the Reds, and she collapsed and fell on 
me. Can you imagine, she was hit in the upper part of her leg, 
but that brave girl said "Alright, I am hit, but first I am 
going to take care of you. " So she managed to dress my wound 
and I felt better. 

Later on doctors told me that it was fortunate that I began 
to drink that sea water, because since we all came from the 
primeval seas, the composition of blood and sea water are almost 
identical. 'It was a sheer miracle, your good luck, with the 
help of God, ' they said, 'that you were given sea water. ' 

The question was raised, 'Where is our company commander?' 
He was not a very young man, a colonel, and I didn't see him. 
I saw the deputy company commander, who was lying flat on his 
face; passing by him I thought 'Well, he is killed, ' but he 
wasn't. He was more experienced with that terrible machine gun 
fire and knew that to save his life he had to lie flat. Well, 
I didn't know much about that because all my battle experience 
had been on the armored train. Later on, there were complaints 
about the company commander. He remained in the rear; he never 
came forward; he never gave a command. However, from a sheltered 
place he managed to signal the ships that were standing by. I 
don't know what with, some people said he used his undershirt. 

Well, a motor launch with a machine gun was sent toward the 


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sho e farther back, and we retreated toward that mo to 1 launch. 
The sailors jumped out with an officer and he said he was going 
to take only wounded people back to the navy vessel. So I was 
among those who were taken. I was dazed, and didn't feel well 
at all. They took me and four other men, including Troianov 
who had lost three finge.vs on one hand, and put us all in a 
little officers' lounge. I was lying on red velvet seats. And 
then a shock came upon me and I suddenly felt that I was dying. 
I was gasping for air and I felt that this was the end. A sailor 

this and I told him, 'Take me quickly to the fresh 
air! ' so he and another man brought me up on the deck and laid me 
on the deck. The last thing I heard was thee remark "Well, this 
young fellow is dying." After that I lost consciousness. 

I was awakened by a terrific report, the boom of a heavy 
gun. The officer told what had happened to our company, and 
that the Reds were still firmly in possession of our base, so 
the naval vessel, which had 6 inch guns, opened fire upon the 
Reds. The first report had awakened me and I realized that I 
might survive. Until then I thought I was dying. 

Well, when I had had enough fresh air they took me back to 
the officers' lounge and the ship went at top speed to bring us 
to Kerch. And it was a terrible night; I began to feel terrible 
pain, not because of the wound but because of my tightly tied 
up arm. Two OT three times I had again the feeling that I was 


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dying and I asked the sailors to bring me out into the fresh air. 
I was restless, uncomfortable and in terrible pain; the others 
who were with me were too, one was crying, and Troianov was pray 
ing out loud. 

Finally we reached Kerch. There we were to be taken to the 
hospital. I remembered that the submarine might still be in 
Kerch and therefore I asked a sailor to go see whether the sub 
marine AG - 22 was still there. He came back and said 'Yes, we 
are almost next to it. ' I asked him to go there and ask my cousin, 
Lieutenant Ulozovskii, to come and see me. Soon afterward three 
officers from the submarine came, but my cousin was not among them. 
They looked at me and were shocked at my appearance, I was still 
covered with blood. One of them, Lieutenant Mukhin, said, 'Your 
cousin is in Sevastopol. We are leaving now for Sevastopol and 
we will gladly take you there. 1 I said 'Oh no, I need to go to 
the hospital or I will die, ' for I felt already that something 
was very wrong with my arm. So I thanked them and asked them to 
notify my cousin and through him my mother, who was staying with 

Well, finally the time came for them to take us to the 
hospital. I was taken on a horse drawn carriage with another 
man and we started through the main street of Kerch. I saw 
hor.ror on the faces of people when they saw me, completely 
covered with blood, from head to toe, and then a young officer 

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rushed to me. It was my second cousin, Roman Labin, whom I met 
shortly before going on the previous operation. 

"What happened to you?" he exclaimed. 

"I was wounded," I said. 

"What hospital are you going to?" 

"I don't know." He immediately asked the driver, and he 


said we were all being taken to the 4th field hospital which was 
located in the girls pension, a very exclusive school. Because 
of the extreme lack of accomodation in that school, the lower 
floor of that school was requisitioned for the hospital, while on 
the top floor the gi: Is continued their studies. It was quite 
fortunate that Roman ("Roma") Labin saw me, for his parents, my 
aunt and uncle, came at once, bringing with them a former sur- 
geion of the Imperial Court, Professor Solntsev, who in consul 
tation with a local man in the hospital examined me and immedi 
ately decided that surgery would be needed. However they didn't 
tell me about that at that point. My bloody uniform was removed, 
my face and hair were washed, so that I began to look less like 
a Red Indian and more like a normal paleface again. They gave 
me morphine injections so that I didn't suffer so much; I felt 
much better as a result of that. Then my relatives sent a wire 
to my mother in Sevastopol, saying "Sasha wounded lightly in 
left arm, come to Kerch. " 

The next day my wound started to play up veey badly. I dev- 

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eloped a fever, which indicated gangrene. The lower part of my 
arm began to smell like rotten meat. I couldn't tolerate that 
anymore. Again Professor Solntsev and Dr. Fishelson had a con 
sultation and they told me that immediate amputation was needed, 
because I had started to run a fever very peculiar to gangrene. 
The tempera tue would shoot up to 104 and then go down very low 
within an hour or two and that kind of fluctuation indicated 
great danger. 

Taken to the surgery, I told Professor Solntsev and Dr. 
Fishelson "Please, if you have to amputate my arm, cut it high 
enough so that there will be nothing left of that rotting meat, 
which I can't stand." They gave me shots and a mask with ether. 

Chapter 30 Scenario V 

I had developed gangrene, the worst sort, gas gangrene. 
I was in mortal danger, so they operated immediately. They now 
sent a second telegram to Simferopol saying that 'The wound is 
more serious than originally expected; amputation of the left 
arm is possible. ' 

I was kept under heavy sedation, so came to my senses only 
on the morning after the operation. The st vangest sensation was 
that I couldn't move my head I felt that I had my arm, and 
I felt all the painful sensations in the hand and fingers, so 
I asked the nurse. She finally told me 'Yes they did remove 


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you 1 arm, but you are out of danger now. ' Then with some effort 
I managed to turn my head and I saw a white bandaged stump instead 
of my arm. 

Well, at that time my only concern was whether I would live 
or not. I knew that mother would come, but I was afraid of see 
ing her because I knew what kind of shock it would be to her. 

Speaking of mother, I recalled that when I was leaving Odessa 
for the front my mother blessed me with a little wooden icon of 
St. Nicholas, painted on the wood, and I kept that icon always 
with me in the watch pocket of my military trousers. It was all 
soaked through with blood as all my garments were soaked, but 
I kept it and later on, in Belgrade, my mother had that little 
icon put in a metal casing behind glass. I still keep it and 
have carried it through all my travels and troubles. 

My relatives visited me, encouraging me, etc. The food in 
the hospital wasn't too good, and my relatives were bringing me 
hot cocoa and other items to give a little bit extra. 

The commander of ou. military academy was still in battle 
on the shores of the Caucasus, but the whole operation went very 
badly and after a week all the troops had to leave the Caucasus 
and "eturn to the Crimea. The trouble had been that instead of 
there being, as we were told, about 4,000 cossacks expecting ou 
arrival, we didn't meet more that about 300 to 400, which was not 
of much help to us in fighting the Reds. 



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That sensation that I had in my amputated arm was once even 
dangerous, because one night, the second night after amputation, 
I turned around and wanted to put my non-existent arm as a sup 
port, and I fell from my bed. It was a painful experience, but 
fortunately nothing was damaged. 

Mother came to Kerch on the third day after the operation. 
That was a dreadful day for me because it was to be the day when 
they would first remove the bandages, and I was scared stiff 
because I knew that it would be very painful. Mother came and 
tried to be awfully brave, but I knew that her heart was bleed 
ing for me and we both tried to pretend that we were happy in 

Then I asked her to leave, for the time was coming for re 
moval of the dressing and I was afraid that I might shout out 
from the pain and she might hear me. 

The change of bandages was probably the most painful moment 
since I had been wounded. By the time she came later on I was 
already feeling better. What was most encouraging was that the 
doctors said that the sound was in good shape and that the heal 
ing had already started. 

Soon after the remnants of the academy : etu .ned to Kerch 
I had a visit from the commanding general of the academy who 
came to me and said 'Here is the St. C oss of the 3rd 
Degree, for your b avery in battle. Mo eover I have sent a 

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recommendation for your immediate promotion to officer's rank, 
2nd Lieutenant, for actually you with you. machine gun saved the 
whole company, for if you had not continued firing the company 
would have been doomed, so for that heroic deed you are recom 
mended for immediate battlefield promotion. ' 

I was very happy. In the meantime my cousins, with the 
help of mother, etc. , since they knew that my uniform was ruined, 
managed to get a new uniform for me and to this was attatched 
the second ST. Geo ge C oss, and the time I visited, mother 
and I went to chu ch. It was still very hard fo.v me to walk 
long distances because of my lost balance through the changed 
center of gravity in my body. 

Finally my namesday came, on the 30th of August. I was able 
to come celebrate my namesday with my family, with whom my mother 
stayed, and they prepared a traditional meal of vodka. When I 
had a glass of vodka something like hot fire pierced my wound, 
with the second glass, the same thing, so I said no more. 

The next morning when I had the regular change of dressing, 
the doctor looked at my arm and said "Oho! Yes, I know, you had 
some vodka!" 'Yes,' I said, 'but how do you know?' 'Well,' he 
said, 'it chases some of the liquid out of your wound, it's not 
too good, but we can detect it. Actually mo .e pus was chased 
out of your wound because you had this. ' I understood then, 
that when I had the hot sensation it probably pushed the pus out. 

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Well the happy day came when the commanding general with 
some other officers came to me and brought my officers' shoulder 
pieces and congratulated me with the promotion; I became an 
officer, and the date of my promotion was actually the date on 
which I was wounded, that is, the 6th of August. And it is 
strange, that in the good old times, in the Tsarist army, the 
young officers were usually promoted, after maneuvers, on that 
same day of the 6th of August. So the day of my promotion was 
the same as that of innumerable cadres of the old army. 

Well again I celebrated that, however the situation on the 
f v ont became more and more difficult. After the unsuccessful 
attempt to reach the shores of the Caucasus, another attempt was 
made to expand the perimeter that we occupied above the Crimea 
toward the west. For that we needed to cross the Dnepr River. 
Some units managed to cross the Dnepr but they were beaten off, 
and finally by September the situation really became grim. 

In September another interesting thing happened in Kerch. 
The food situation was very bad and since the number of wounded 
had increased, the hospitals were filled to capacity and very 
few people were helped by relatives or anyone. So the wife of 
the commanding general of the garrison proposed a plan jointly 
to the Red Cross and other ladies' organizations to have a 
festival, at which a lottery would be held. The idea was that 
the citiaens of Kerch buy lottery tickets, each of which bore the 


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name of a wounded officer or cadet or soldier in the various 
hospitals, and then whoever drew that ticket took it upon himself 
to take care of that wounded person in the hospital. We knew of 
that and it caused quite a commotion in our hospital. 

I had escaped certain death, but when I was recovering I 
felt so well, so good. However my amputated amr still bothered 
me. Any change of weather was very painful; as a matter of fact 
even now, after 55 years I still feel the same thing. I was 
afraid that a certain grimace in my face would remain constant, 
for I always felt that pain, but at the same time my spirits 
were high; again I was out of danger, I was alive and I was 
young, and didn't think of the consequences of being crippled. 
But there were also bad cases when someone was dying in the hos 
pital, it was a kind of terrible routine; when somebody was a 
hopeless case they would remove that person from the regular 
ward and take him to a special ward which we called the death 
ward or death detachment, and quite a few people were moved 
there. I was sorry for these people because when they moved 
them there they knew that they moved them so they would die in 
peace there. 

We in the hospital were anxiously awaiting the results of 
that odd lottery in which the citizens of Kerch were winning 
the names of all the soldiers in the hospital. Shortly after 
that some ladies started to appear, bearing little pieces of 

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paper with the names, and bringing some food, and soft pillows. 

Chapter 31 Scenario V 

M; ; v .-"t.r, t>trc. W* ' 

One of the first was a big fat lady who won, of all people, the 
name of my comrade-in-arms, Sergeant Nosenko, who had had a 
bullet in his spine and was now .recovering. She knew what a 
wounded man needs, she birought him a large pillow and bottle 
with milk and some other goodies from her house; she sat with 
him, talked with him, and made him quite happy, and promised 
to bring him food every day from that point on. 

Other ladies came, claiming who they won, and everyone was 
fine, mainly because it brought some additional food, because 
we in the hospital were on almost a starvation diet. So gradu 
ally all the men in our ward had aquired their lady patrons, 
except me; nobady came to claim me; and I was beginning to get 
upset. Until finally, about three days after the rest of them, 
a very attractive young lady appeared at the threshold of our 
ward, and read my name and the name of a certain Captain Blinov; 
she had bought two tickets. Since she had the names of two of 
us the hospital administration decided that fo:. he: convenience 
it would be better if both men were in the same ward, so they 
moved one man out and put Captain Blinov in his place, in the 
bed next to mine. Well, she was a very attractive young woman 
named Victoria. She didn't bring us lots of food but we enjoyed 

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her company. Blinov was wounded in the arm too, but his arm was 
not amputated and he already walked, so she said that she would 
gladly go with him to the movies, to concerts, etc. Well, Blinov 
started his evening strolls with her? of course I had my : ela- 
tives and mother, but I was a little jealous of the captain. 
However, one evening when I returned from supper with my mother 
and relatives I found him lying moaning in his bed. 'What hap 
pened? 1 I asked. 'Oh, 1 he said, 'a terrible thing has happened. 1 
They had gone to a concert, after which he took Victoria to her 
home, where her husband was a very sick man. While there Blinov 
stumbled and fell on his wounded arm and dislocated his shoulder. 
He was in terrible pain and the shoulder was swollen and at night 
the doctor came and said that he needed to have special treat 
ment and advised that he be sent immediately to Sevastopol where 
they had special facilities for this kind of emergency. So in 
the morning Captain Blinov was taken to the train and sent to 
Sevastopol. When Victoria appeared late in the afternoon and 
asked about Captain Blinov I told her what happened. She was 
awfully so- ry, but then she became kind of my companion. Well 
we didn't go out much; but we went once' to a concert given by 
the well known Nadezhda Plevitskaia. She was very popular. She 
used to sing with Chaliapin, one of the most famous Russian 
singers. She later became the wife of the commander of Ko .nilov 
regiment and later of the Ko 1 nilov division, General Skoblin. 



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They lived for a long time in Paris, until in 1929 she managed 
to get in touch with communist agents and she betrayed the leader 
of the White movement, General Kutepov, so that he was kidnapped 
in the center of Pa^is by Soviet agents and taken to the coast 
of France where a Soviet ship was waiting. It was a terrible 
thing; Skoblin fled, and disappeared, and Plevitskaia was arrested 
by the French and died in prison. That was nine years after the 
concert. At that time she was a beautiful singer. 

The situation of the White armies on the front became ve. y 
difficult. The trouble started with this. G eat B itain, under 
the government of Churchill, was helping us by sending ammuni- 

Af*r\r\r\ ' " r v t *K 

tion, tanks, and so forth, but then the new cabinet of Lloyd 
George came to power. He was a left leaning statesman of the 
Labor Party and one of the first acts of his government was to 1 
cut off help to the White armies of Russia. He started to nego 
tiate for trade with the Bolsheviks, and when someone in the 
British Parliament attacked him for that he said, "I don't care; 
one can trade even with cannibals; the main thing is that we 
want to trade. " 

Another facto 1 that adversely affected our position in the 
C." imea was that the Bolsheviks were also fighting with the Poles, 
and the Poles got massive suppo t from F ance. Even General 
Weygand was sent to Wa saw to o ganize Polish defenses, the flow 
of arms, ammunition and so forth. But the Poles managed to stop 
the Soviet offensive, peace was concluded, and all the Soviet 


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armies that were fighting the Poles we: e immediately di ected 
against us, so we were overwhelmed by the mass of the Reds, who 
had under their control the central part of Russia with all the 
heavy industries, etc. and we didn't have anything. We didn't 
even have the breadbasket of the Ukraine at our disposal. So we 
were beginning to starve, both as far as ammunition was concerned, 
and food. There were shortages in everything. General W: angel 
al eady had a contingency plan to evacuate the entire army from 

n? . 

C.vimea in case of collapse of the front and because of the freak 
weather in Octobe that became inevitable. For the first time 
in 50 years suddenly very cold weather settled down in C imea 
and particularly in the north where the shallow lagoon which 
protected us from any massive attack by the Reds was frozen and 
the Red cavalry managed to break through across the ice of that 

This was the only chance that the free world, the western 
allies, had to stop communism. We didn't need any foreign 
troops, we needed only help with foodstuffs and weapons, and with 
that we could have won our battle against the Reds and there 
would have been no more of that Red danger which was to threaten 
the world in an ever increasing sense from that point on. We 
would have destroyed communism inside Russia and would have 
certainly established a democratic government, because the goal 
was not restoration of tsardom but bringing back the Constituent 
Assembly and the decision of the Constituent Assembly, based on 


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-202- elections, would have been mandatory for deciding what form 
of government Russia would have. That was our goal, nothing 
else, and we were fighting against the Red dictatorship; merciless, 
bloody dictatorship. But the Allies didn't see that; except for 
Churchill, they didn't realize the danger of it. They didn't ; 
understand communism, how it could spread outside of Russia, 
and they realized it only when it was too late. Well, I would 
say that the Americans were more generous than anybody, although 
they didn't send us military supplies, we were at least getting 
lots of medical supplies through the American Red C oss. All 
our hospitals were supplied with American medicaments, bandages, 
thermometers, and everything. Then the Americans dumped on us 
a large amount of their uniforms. We didn't have any factories 
to produce uniforms. So actually in that last stage of the war 
I was fighting and wounded in a World War I American uniform. 
Only the insignia had been removed. 

Anyhow, the situation became desperate, and the troops 
were retreating from the northern part of Tavrida, the perimete , 
into the bottleneck of Perekop, and into the Crimea proper and 
the orders were given to the troops where they had to go for 
their assigned evacuation. There was tremendous difficulty in 
finding enough vessels; anything that would float was immediately 
comandeered by Wrangel for evacuation. 

At that time mother and I decided that it would be best 

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for us to go to Sevastopol. I didn't need to stay in the hospi 
tal anymore; I needed only to go every third day to have the 
dressings on my wound changed. The wound was healing pretty 
fast and there was a fine naval hospital in Sevastopol so we 
decided to go there and live with my cousin, Nicholas Ulozovskii, 
who passed eway just recently in Nice, France. 

The trip from Kerch to Sevastopol was very difficult and 
painful. We spent the whole night in the overcrowded train, and 
people were pressing on me and my wound until some officers there 
learned that I was a recent amputee. 

We settled in Sevastopol in the second part of October. 
The front was collapsing and orders were given to start boarding 
the ships. There were all kinds of ships. Upon arrival in 
Sevastopol I reported to Wrangel's headquarters and since I was 
an officer and not attatched to any particular unit, I said I 
would like to be attatched to the old Imperial guard regiment. 
There was only one battalion which was the nucleus, so I was 
assigned to that and at the same time I got permission to go to 
the naval hospital for changing of the bandages and checking 
on my wound. 

So it went on and finally the day came when we had to 
evacuate and leave Russia forever. 

Evacuation took place on the first of November 1920. My 
cousin was with his submarine but his wife, as the wife of a 


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naval officer, had to leave shortly before we did because there 
was a special ship, part of which was assigned for the families 
of naval officers. So she left us and I didn't see her from 
that time until 1972, when I saw her briefly in Nice. 

We were assigned to the ship, the passenger ship ALEKSANDR 
MIKHA I LOV I CH , which later became the Yugoslav passenger liner 
J3UBROVHIK, on which I travelled once trying to locate the 
in which I was evacuated. 

We were lucky to get on the passenger liner because the 
majority of people were being evacuated from the Crimea on just 
about any kind of vessel, even on barges, because of the short 
age of vessels. Everyone wanted to leave, believing that after 
the Reds invaded Sevastopol there would be a blood bath, which 
actually happened, as we learned later. So mother and I boarded 
that ship and since I was a wounded officer, mother and I were 
assigned a little cabin. We were lucky enough that on that ship 
the headquarters of the Sevastopol command was evacuated, and 
also the Red Cross organization and the so-called White Cross, 
which was a rival organization to the Red Cross during the Civil 
War. Apparently some people didn't like the word Red. Well, 
I certainly profited from that because as soon as we had settled 
down representatives of the Red Cross came to ou > cabin and 
promised help. Within a short time, representatives of the White 
Cross came too, and they put me down on a list of people they 

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should help. I didn't mind, because getting two rations meant 
that my mother could eat relatively good food as well. Then on 
board 'the ship were all the bishops and higher clergy of our 
Orthodox Church, including the Metropolitan Anastasii and many 
others. They carried with them the miraculous icon of Kursk, 
which was taken out of Russia, and many years afterward was 
brought on several occasions to. our home here. Finally the sig 
nal was given that all ships had to move into the harbor because 
the Reds we e already in the outskirts of Sevastopol and one 
could hear the ^ifle and machine gun fire. Ou: liner moved 
out and then the order was given to go full speed ahead to 

I want on the upper deck and we saw the Russian shores 
receding in the mist. It was a terrible heart breaking experi 
ence for me. The clergy were saying a solemn Te Deum on the up 
per deck, and we all knew our Russian land was rededing farther 
and farther away. The last piece of Russian land that I saw was 
Cape Fiolet, near Sevastopol. And I didn't see Russia again 
until last year, 1974, when I gathered courage and we visited 
Russia and the C imea. 

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Chapter 32 Scenario VI 

With evacuation from the Crimea the Civil War had ended. 
The date was November 1, 1920 by the old calendar, or November 
14, new style. 

The voyage to Constantinople was uneventful. Since it was 
a passenger liner we made it pretty fast. In about 24 hours we 
reached the Bosphorus and then cautiously entered the big Bospho 1 us 
bay and were anchored in the middle of the bay. Close to 150 
ships of all kinds were coming from the Crimea to Constantinople. 
Constantinople at that time was under allied, British and French 
command and both our former allies were very reluctant in their 
help, particularly to the Russian White armed forces. The army 
of about 100, 000 men was evacuated from the Crimea and also a 
la?ge number of civilians, families, etc. Initially nobody was 
permitted to leave the ships; we were surrounded by British and 
French battleships and who didn't permit any communica 
tion with the shore, but gradually the restrictions were relaxed 
and I remember that the former Russian embassy in Constantinople 
was still functioning, although without any status, and by sheer 
inertia and the influence of the personal acquaintanceship of 
the former ambassado 1 " with the British and French it became a 
center of activities of the evacuees. Mother and I emained on 
our ship, but I desperately needed mo e thorough medical help, 
since my wound was still not healed completely and requi ed mo- e 

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serious medical attention. Fortunately a team of French doctors 
was visiting each of those 100 ships that were in Istanbul 
harbor, and this medical team was checking on the wounded to see 
whether any of them needed to be taken to the hospital in 

All our navy also moved to Constantinople, and the British 
and French were particularly cautious about it. I believe they 
had their guns constantly aimed at our navy ships. Eventually 
all the Russian navy ships were ordered to proceed through the 
Da danelles to the Mediterranean and were ordered to go to 
Bize te, French North Africa, where they were disarmed. General 
Wrangel later on sold these ships to the French for scrap metal, 
and with the money which he got he managed to help the Russian 
refugees in their most painful initial stage in living abroad. 

Living on the crowded ships was a pretty miserable experi 
ence, in contrast to looking at the beautiful sight of old 
Istanbul. We saw the famous Aya Sophia and the other famous 
mosques in the distance, and what was interesting, lots of small 
Turkish boats were teeming around the big ships on which we were 
stranded and were trying to trade for some of the things that we 
were bringing. They were bringing bread, halva and other 
Turkish things. Initially they were accepting Russian money but 
it g adually lost value until it fell to zero. Some people were 
still hoping that Russia would be resto 1 ed and the money would 


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retain its value. But the Tu'-ks on these little row boats 
usually preferred some kind of barter. They would ask for pis 
tols, or for watches, and so forth, and other things, even parts 
of uniforms, and some people were lowering it down on a rope and 
back would come a piece of bread, or a little halva, or cheese. 

By the way, it was the time in the late fall of 1920, when 
Kemal Ataturk rebelled against the British and French and was 
creating his army, and some of his agents secretly were trying 
to buy some weapons from the Russian soldiers and even were 
offe ing jobs with the Kemal army. The British and French were 
very strict about that, because they knew that Kemal was a 
dangerous force for them, but our sympathies were with Kemal 
Ataturk because we hated the British and French and felt that 
they had betrayed us in the most painful last epoch of our fight 
against the Reds. So there were several cases in which indi 
vidual officers and men managed to escape at night and join the 
Kemal forces in Turkey. 

Finally my arm started to play up very badly. A big French 
Red Cross launch came to our steamer with several French medical 
officers. They came aboard with a list of people who were regis 
tered by the first gro p of medical authorities and started to 
select the people who were to go to the hospital. And here was 
the most painful thing; they came to me and asked for my name 
'Lieutenant Albov, vi te vite. ' which means 'hurry, hurry' and 

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ordered me to get aboard that launch to take me to the French 
hospital. My mother asked permission to go and fortunately 
since she spoke French she persuaded them and they took her 
together with me. So we were together and disembarked on the 
so-called Stamboul part of Constantinople, that is on the other 
side of the Golden Horn. 

As soon as we landed there were some French trucks waiting 
for us and before I could even say a word to my mother I was 
put into a truck and driven off, while my mother remained stand 
ing on the shore. She didn't even know where they were taking 
me. That was a terrible moment. I knew that she was completely 
alone, without anything, standing on the pier. They took me to 
a place called Seytin Oghlu about 13 miles from Constantinople 
in the direction of San Stefano. A main reilroad track passed 
by that place. We were brought into an old dilapidated Turkish 
barracks which was hastily converted into a hospital. Facilities 
were very primitive, some windows were b oken, and it was cold- 
musty, etc. , but at least they managed to help us to wash our 
selves, and our wounds were taken care of by the French. 

However we were surrounded by a barbed wire fence guarded 
by French Senegalese troops, so actually we felt as if we were 
prisoners of war of our dear allies, which really was disgusting. 
So we were spending time there, and in the morning they forced 
both men and officers to clean the barracks, and wash the floor, 

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and so forth, whoever could. I refused immediately because of 
my arm. 

We were on a starvation diet, the French food was terrible; 
we were constantly hungry and the medical attention was not very 
good. We had not seen a real doctor for two or three days and 
were helped only by corpsmen. Fortunately a few of us could 
speak some French. 

One side of the barracks looked onto land which was not 
surrounded by barbed wire. Some Turks were coming on that side, 
and we started to trade the French blankets from our hospital 
beds with them. We each had three blankets, wo we could spare 
at least one, so we were lowering them down to the Turks and they 
were bringing us bread ekmek and halva. The h.a.lya was 
very rich and was good nutritious food. 

Well I was desperate because I didn't know what had hap 
pened to mother. Then one day I heard my name being called. 
I came out and there was a French officer asking me to put on 
my winter coat and come out with him. All my earthly possessions 
consisted of a little bag that I carried, and that was all. So 
I came out and can you imagine, there was a French limousine and 
my mother was in it. She came to pick me up and take me to 
Constantinople. Hex story was this: after she was left alone, 
on the quay at Constantinople she managed to get to the Embassy, 
where she got to some people of Wrangel's high command and since 




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Wrangel knew my mother from the time she brought with Countess 
Kleinmichel an icon from Varna to him in Constantinople he or 
dered a search for me through the French hospitals. They 
finally located me at Zeytin Burnu, and since Wrangel still had 
great respect from the French as commander in chief of the 
Russian army the French gave my mother that car and she was 
d iven there to pick me up. And there a real miracle happened. 
She brought me to a private French hospital in Pera. Pera was 
the most fashionable European part of Constantinople, a private 
villa converted into a hospital by the Society of Jean d'Arc, 
a charitable society which was headed by a certain Mile Voisin, 
a niece of the former president of France, Poincare. She 
decided to help the Russians because she knew how her father was 
an admirer of Russia during the beginning of World War I before 
the Russian Revolution and these wonderful French women came to 
Constantinople. They wore a special Jean d'Arc uniform, which 
consisted of white d esses with red mantles. Somehow my mother 
got in touch with Mile. Voisin and I was brought to that hospi 
tal. It was a hospital for the Russian officers only, and it 
was an unbelievable luxury for me afte so many years of depriva 
tion and so fo>th. Fi 1 st of all they put silk pajamas on me; 
there were F ench waiters serving us at the table- and a French 
wine was always included in our menu. It was unbelievable We 
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knew that my mother had no place to live they gave her a room 
which she shared with two other ladies. One was a famous author, 
Begutova ?, and the other was the widow of a former judge of 
Odessa, Demenovich, who was once in the same cell in the commun 
ist Cheka prison with my father, but was executed. So my mother 
had congenial company; she was close to me and we were seeing 
each other practically every day. It was like a d: earn, a d earn 
which kind of compensated for all the misery which I had lived 
through before that. 

Well my wound was healing, but at one point I developed a 
little infection which is called in Russian rozlia, a pretty 
dangerous infection which spreads out near the wound and makes 
the area around the wound scarlet red. Well they managed to stop 
that infection and finally the time had come when we decided 
that we could go to Varna to join the rest of the family, my 
father and my sister, whom I had not seen since August 1919. 

I told my mother that since I was almost completely recov 
ered I would like to join the guard battalion in Gallipoli. The 
troops in the White A- my were taken gradually from the ships and 
were sent to Gallipoli, a peninsula south of Constantinople 
where they were under control of the F ench. The F ench were 
afraid of that mass of 100,000 Russian military men. However 
W.i angel and General Kutepov, the next to senio in command, 
1 efused to su- render all their weapons. The F ench insisted 


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that all machine guns be turned in, but the Russians knew how 
to hide those things, and so the army still had rifles and .some 
machine guns and I believe a few field artillery pieces which 
they had managed to smuggle f om the ships during disembarkment. 
So the army was in Gallipoli but my request was denied by the 
F- ench who didn't want anyone else to go to Gallipoli to increase 
the numbe: of people whom they had to feed and to increase the 
force which they didn't trust too much. So nothing was left to 
me but to go with mothe 1 " to Varna. I was happy about that 
because I wanted to see my father and my sister Tania. The 
F ench authorities in the hospital of Mile Voisin, of the Jean 
D'Arc Society, were very helpful. They arranged through the 
French command a first class cabin on a Bulgarian steamship 
that was to take us from Constantinople to Varna, the Bulgarian 
port on the Black Sea. Before we left they gave us lots of 
civilian clothing, everything that was needed not only for mother 
and me but for my father and sister. So we were bringing bundles 
of the most impo tant thing which we didn't have money to buy. 
Apparently the captain of the Bulgarian passenge- line was told 
that we weT-e under protection of the French authorities fo he 
was extremely kind and we were always taking ou meals at the 
captain's table in his cabin. 

The voyage was short and soon we disembarked in Varna, and 
that was a wonderful time when ou family finally was reunited 


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on Bulgarian soil in Varna. Varna is a beautiful summer resort 
on the Black Sea, but for us it was a constant struggle for sur 
vival. Fortunately there were many Russians in Varna. They had 
come directly to Varna from Odessa in the winter of 1920, I be 
lieve at the end of January, in terrible conditions, before we 
were evacuated in November from the Crimea. 

The Russians immediately organized. There we e not many 
skilled people in the Balkan countries, so Russians were wel 
come. Among us we^e Russian physicians, dentists, engineers, 
and so forth who immediately got some kind of job. Father, being 
a judge, couldn't get any job, but managed to get a position with 
the Russian community in charge of the library. We o ganized 
a Russian church, the former Greek church of Saint Anastasius, 
and the church house became the center of the Russian colony in 
Varna. Soon some kind of concerts were organized. My father was 
an accomplished pianist so he mlways participated in these activ 
ities and was librarian. Mother was offered a job teaching 
Russian children. An organization sprang up quickly to start 
some kind of education for small Russian children, to teach them 
the essentials of Russian language and culture, etc. , so mother 
was doing that. My sister, with other girls was active in help 
ing the chu ch, brushing up her English with another girl who 
spoke it fluently, who had come from America. 


i ^BUHL'S ' I : 















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Chapter 33, Scenario VI 

It was the first time the whole family had been together 
since August 1919, when I went to the front. It was the hap 
piest of reunions because the family was in good health, and in 
the time that they lived in Varna they left Odessa for Varna 
at the end of January 1920 to the time that we reunited was 
almost one year, for mother and I came from Constantinople to 
Va:~na at about the beginning of December. And it was our first 
Christmas in exile, in emigration. 

There were many Russians in Varna. By that time some of 
the early arrivals in Varna who came primarily from Odessa and 
from Novorossiisk, which was evacuated at approximately the same 
time, had established some kind of little White Russian emigre 
colony, and with all the peculiarities. First of all a church 
was established, and there was a priest the priest had come 
shortly before Wo .rid War I, from the United States, where he 
had been a priest in Philadelphia. His two daughters both spoke 
English, so my sister Tania could brush up her English with the 
younger girl, Olga, who was about Tania' s age. The other, a 
little older, was married to a man by the name of Kotsar who 
was also warden of the priest, so we were close friends of that 

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family who had come some time before from the United States 
Tania and Olga read nothing but English books Tauschnitz 
editions and even we used to get in the library some English 

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newspapers, and I remember seeing for the first time some American 
cartoons, in the Chicago Tribune. 

Thus, the life of Russians in Varna became move or less 
organized. The people who had left Russia were the cream of 
Russian intellectuals, artists, poets, ballet dancers, and opera 
singers, who immediately started to organize their own little 
groups. And fo 1 - the astonished people in the Balkans it was a 
revelation, like bringing them in contact with quite a new cul 
ture. And it was Russian culture at its best, because the best 
people who had not been destroyed by the communists had fled. 

The main areas to which these people came from Russia were 
from the Crimea to either Varna or, via Constantinople, to 
Yugoslavia, which was just organized as a new free state after 
the end of World War I. So from there the groups of Russians 
moved farther on, to Germany, and to France, so that the centers 
of Russian culture in exile became initially places like Varna, 
Sofia, Belgrade and then Paris, and Berlin. Later, when some 
of the people started to move to the United States, their contri 
bution was felt even in this highly progressive and industrialized 
country. Remember the contribution of Siko ski, with his inven 
tion of the helicopter and the contributions of many others. 

The universities, especially in the newly organized Yugoslavia, 
needed the Russians. There was not a great language barrie 
because all people in the Balkans spoke one or another Slavic 

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dialect which had common roots with that of the Russians, so the 
Russians quickly learned either Bulgarian or Serbo-Croatian and 
they were immediately invited to various places, to operas, etc. 

I observed in Varna, like in microcosm, the beginning of 
this bloom of Russian culture in the west. It was an interesting 
phenomenon. There in a little place like Varna former opera 
artists organized a couple of opera performances, and the Bulgarians 
were enchanted because they had not seen anything like that befo e. 
In the summer time they organized a kind of light opera in one 
of the garden restaurants which was always full of people, who 
were trying to get in, although eve: ything was sung, and the com 
edies were played in Russian. The Bulgarians had no difficulty 
in understanding that. 

The Russians had a dispensary, and it was here that I came 
into the picture. The representative of the Red Cross, Solodovnikov, 
needed an aide of some kind, so I was appointed in that capacity. 
I screened visitors for him. Then I got in contact with the head 
quarters of the White army in Gallipoli and asked for an assign 
ment and was appointed aide de camp to the military attache in 
Varna (a Colonel Bekhteev) , and I started to earn a little money, 
400 leva. It was only a small amount but still it contributed 
to ou family needs. We all earned a little, mother as a teacher 
in the kindergarten. Then some of the Russians brought with them 
valuable things, and there were displays, for which we charged 

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money, and this money was used to help poor people. And there 
were concerts. 

We in little Varna couldn't afford a newspaper, so we had 
what was called a spoken newspaper. Some very well known Russian 
journalists held a weekly meeting in the church attatched to the 
Russian community hall. There, once a week, in the evening, all 
the Russian conlony would gather together, and listen to that 
spoken newspaper. They collected certain news and shared it with 
us; it was very interesting. 

Many lasting friendships were built at that time. For ins 
tance we became close to the Kostrev family. M.-s. Bostrev and 
three of he 1 " four sons came to Varna; I think they escaped from 
Sevastopol; her husband, former fleet admiral Bostrev had before 
Wo: Id War I been commander in chief of the Black Sea Fleet. He 
had already managed to move to London, but she was stuck in Varna. 

Our situation was very difficult; we didn't have any pass 
ports, so a special international refugee organization named after 
Fritjov Nansen, the famous arctic explorer, started to issue the 
so-called Nansen passports for refugees like us. That Nansen 
passport played an important role. 

In Varna we found also our relatives Uncle Vladimir, whose 
son Andrei was killed in the hospital in the Caucasus, and George 
da. He was from the same gymnasium as I was, in Odessa so he 
and I immediately became good friends with Theodore, Fedia, and 


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Bostrev, sons of Mrs. Bostrev. At that time Varna was frequented 
by American destroyers which were still coming into the Black Sea 
and going around to show the flag. And whenever an American 
destroyer called at the Port of Varna, the commanding officer 
and a couple of other officers of that destroyer, since they 
knew that the wife of a former fleet commander of the Black Sea, 
Mrs. Bostrem was living there, always called on her to pay their 
respects, for all of them knew of Bostrem from before the time 
of World War I. So we met some of the officers, especially Tania 
and her friend Olga, who spoke English all the time, and through 
them my English improved too. 

Once we were invited to visit one of these destroyers and 
they threw a party for us; for Olga, my sister Tania, for me 
and a couple of other people. So we went aboard, and while the 
girls were flirting with the officers the commaning officer 
invited us young men to have tea. We were expecting something 
stronger and when he saw the expression on our faces he said 
'Alright...' Actually it was a tea party on the destroyer for 
everybody, so tea was served beautifully on the open deck which 
was all sheltered with signal flags, and a little band playing 
Hawaiian music, and we danced and so forth. But we young men 
wanted to have something to drink then, so he said at one point 
'You young men, gentlemen, I want you to come with me to my 
cabin. I want to show you some interesting pictures. ' So we 






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went down to his cabin, and he locked the door. First of all he 
showed us a trophy, somewhere, I believe in Novorossiisk it 
was already in the hands of the Reds, but Americans were per 
mitted to send a shore party they got drunk and managed to 
steal a Red flag, so he showed us that Red flag, with the hammer 
and sickle on it, which was stolen by his sailors in Novorossiisk. 
Then he opened his safe and with great precaution pulled out a 
bottle of whiskey. He had to keep that in the safe because it 
was not permitted to have any drinks on a naval vessel of the 
United States. Prohibition was already in effect at that time. 
Anyhow, we had a few drinks and when we came up to continue our 
dancing, we were in a completely different mood. 

My sister and Olga developed a good friendship with two 
navy officers, and were for a long time in correspondence with 
them. Even when we moved to Yugoslavia that cor espondence con 
tinued, and almost to the beginning of Wo"ld War II. After 
Tania's death in Germany at the end of Wo.vld War II, when I got 
some of her possessions, I was hoping to get her notebook with 
addresses, because I wanted to extablish contact with these 
officers, because the youngest lieutenant in the American navy 
at that time, was by then probably in the age group of Admiral 
Halsey OT Admiral Nimitz. However, unfortunately I never got 
that book, and I didn't remember the names of those two men, so 
that connection was lost. 

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Anyhow, in Varna I saw in microcosm the expansion of Russian 
culture in all directions, and in this respect life was pleasant. 
However, there we e a few setbacks. Once my wound started to 
play up again and the infection I had once had in the French 
hospital flared up again in a very bad form. It spread out so 
that that red inflamation almost covered my left side and chest, 
and this affected my heart. Fo" the third time my life was in 
danger. Of course the doctrs tried to help but there were no 
antibiotics at that time and nothing that could dramatically 
help me. One evening my heart began to fail and I told father, 
'I think I am dying. ' He rushed out to a little coffee house 
across the street and brought back some Turkish coffee and a 
little glass of cognac as a stimulant. I recovered after that, 
but slowly, for that particular infection apparently affected my 
heart, and at times there were symptoms. Later, however, I re 
covered and began to forget about it. 

Our financial position became critical because we had to 
move from where we lived to another place with a little higher 
rent. We sold whatever we had; small gold o naments, pieces of 
gold, etc. And finally my father's most precious possession, 
the gold watch given to him by my uncle and aunt, the Gerassimov's 
before they departed from Odessa, was to be sold in case of crisis. 
It had been the Emperor's gift, to my uncle and had a chronometer, 
chimes, a calendar, showed phases of the moon, and everything; 

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it was a very rare and expensive thing. So my father went to 
Mrs. Bostrev, showed her the watch and told her that our finan 
cial position was such that we had to sell it. She said she 
would try to help, and took the watch and kept it for a short 

Meanwhile there was another interesting thing. A Professor 
Whitmore of Archeology from Harvard was doing some work on restor 
ation of the former Saint Sophia mosque in Constantinople, and he 
had a few scholarships at his disposal which Harvard University 
at that time suggested that he open to some young White Russian 
officers. He made that offer to General Wrangel. And General 
Wrangel remembered me as a highly decorated officer, and that 
I had lost my arm, and spoke some English, and so the offer 
came to me through his military attache. I had to fill out 
some forms and the conditions were that I would go to the United 
States to be accepted in Harvard University to take a course 
in law, because there were no more other subjects possible and 
they would pay all my expenses and tuition until I graduated 
after three years to be repaid within ten years. 

Well it seems a very tempting assignment now, when you look 
at it in retrospect, however at that time we young Russian offi 
cers believed that our exile was only tempo, ary, a passing shadow. 
We still believed that communism would collapse, because news 
was coming constantly of uprisings, and even the sailors in 

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Kronshtadt. the fortress facing Petrograd, had rebelled, and 
there were peasant uprisings everywhere, so we believed that one 
day our army would be called back and we would return to Russia. 

Also, I had fallen in love, with the younger of two daugh 
ters of a General Dob> ovolsheakii, and X hated to leave her* 
So, I Dejected that offer. In retrospect, as I slid, it sounds 
stupid, because I am sure that I would have graduated from 
Harvard Law School, probably in 1926 or 1928, and you can imagine 
the kind of career I would have had. However, it was probably 
a blessing in disguise, for if I had accepted that off si my 
future would have become entirely different. 

Our financial situation became desperate, 

Chapter 34, Scenario VI 

and we decided to sell the gold watch. Mrs. I>MII*V <"' "mi 
she would sell it for us somehow through her American MM<I \\> 11 IM!I 
connections, and one day she ssid that she had told it for sixty 
American dollars. That sounds like nothing today, but in that 
part of the world, in Bulgaria, the value of the dollar was so 
great that it was a very important amount of money and it saved 
us from near starvation. 80 we were quit* happy/ although we 
we e so ry that we had lost the watch forever. 

He-e T. interject sn interesting continuation of that story, 
Many years after this watch was sold/ when I was alteady in the 



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United States, married and director of the Defense Language 
Institue, I travelled on a T D Y (temporary duty assignment) to 
Europe. There I learned that this Mrs. Bostrev, now an old lady, 
was living in a suburb of Paris, Neuilly. I had also spoken to 
her eldest son Theodore, whom we had known in Varna, and who was 
then living in Connecticut. He had told me "You know, that thllil. 
fjHBMC gold watch is still in the possession of my mother. She 
actually couldn't sell it, so she asked about the price and gave 
your father the money herself." When I visited Mrs. Bostrev in 
Paris and raised the question of the watch, she was furious. 
She said *No, in spite of the fact that I love you so much, 
almost like my son, I bought this watch. It helped you and your 
family in difficult times, and now it belongs to my family. '' 


Well I had to admit that she was right, so I forgot about tiwrt; 
watch; but I was sorry, feeling I had lost it forever. That was 
in 1962. Mrs. Bostrev died shortly after that, and the watch 
was left with her second son, Ivan, who also lived in Paris. 
Then in January 1975 I got a telephone call from her youngest 
son, Nicholas, in which he said that he and his wife and a couple 
of their friends would be passing through Pacific Grove and would 
like to see us. I remembered him as a little 5 year old boy; he 
had become an engineer and was established in Mexico. We were 
very pleaseil to hear from him and invited them to luncheon with 
us. When he came into our house he shook my hand, then reached 

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into his pocket and pulled out this famous gold watch, which I 
had not seen since 1920, and he said "This belongs to you and I 
thought you should have it. " I was so touched, and so pleased 
and happy. I offered to pay him, but he said 'Oh no, it is just 
a little gift, long overdue. ' After he left us I sent him a 
letter telling him how great it was of him, and what a beau 
geste it was by the Bostrevs, to return this watch. 

This watch is being repaired now and I hope soon to see it 
repaired and hear the chimes, for it is a watch which shows 
everything the phases of the moon, it has a calendar showing 
the days of the week and month and all in Cyrillic alphabet, 
also a chronometer, and the chimes are unique in the respect that 
it has three-toned chimes, and when it chimes after you press a 
button it shows hours, quarters of hours and minutes. According 
to what I hear from people who know about such things, the value 
of the watch probably exceeds $10,000 nowadays, plu* LWJEIULJU it 
has historic value, uii.l nin presented by the Emperor of Russia, 
it probably would go much higher. 

Now back to Varna. Once I was involved in a secret mission, 
as I always called it later on. One day a representative of the 
Red C: oss in Varna called me into hush-hush conference and told 
me that I should carry a little package by train from Varna to 
Sofia, and deliver it to the military attache there, General 
Viazmitinov. They showed me what was in the package : three 


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beautiful pearls one white, one pinkish, and one bluish. 
I have never seen such a perfect set of pearls. I was told not 
to ask any questions but just to be sure that these pearls were 
delivered personally to General Viazmitinov in Sofia. They paid 
my transportation, and I took an overnight train and carried the 
pearls in my pocket. I certainly was not apt to attract the 
attention of thieves, but I realized that the value of these 
three pearls was tremendously high. So I went to Sofia, arriv 
ing there in the morning, and went to General Viazmitinov' s 
office. He apparently had been alerted; he thanked me for the 
mission accomplished and then told his aide to see that I was 
taken to a good restaurant and shown around Sofia. Then I 
boarded the train and went back to Varna. I don't know the story 
of these pearls, or to whom they belonged; I presume they may 
have belonged to the crown jewels and were smuggled out of the 
Soviet Union. 

Then I got involved with activities connected with the 
arrival of Russian troops from Gallipoli. The French and British 
authorities decided that the Russian army should be disbanded. 
They negotiated with the commander in chief of the Russian 
fo ces, General Wrangel, that part of the army would be sent 
through Varna to be resettled in Bulgaria, and a part in Yugoslavia. 
To pay for the cost of this resettlement and to support -t-fa lif^ 
the army personnel. General Wrangel had to sell all the ships 

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that had belonged formerly to Russia and then to him as commander 
in chief of the armed forces of the Tsar. For instance the ship 
ALEKSEI MIKHAILOVICH, on which mother and I had been evacuated 
from Crimea, was sold to Yugoslavia. It was renamed the steam 
ship DUBROBNIK, and became a regular passenger steamer plying 
the Adriatic Sea between the ports of Yugoslavia. And, as I 
mentioned, the remnants of the Russian navy which were captured 
in Bizerte we^ e sold for scrap metal to the French. All this 

money was used to help the Russian emigres to settle down. 

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However, Lhti uwt-j 1" 1 Cy of, men wr rr f 1 1 1 i ml to go into the coal 

mines, and that was the beginning of a very difficult road for 

Russian emigres. Those with a knowledge of languages managed 


to get a better deal; managed to go to France. But again in 


France and Belgium initially they became taxi drivers or were 
working in coal mines and other mines. It was a hard beginning. 
Professional people fared better, particularly in the Balkans, 
because there was a need for their talents. 

As far as I was concerned, along with my friends there 
were quite a few young men of my age in Varna at that time we 
began to unwind. After all the horrors of war, and all the 
bloody mess that we had gone through, we just wanted to live- 
and we lived it up. Wine was cheap, and we had the company of 
wonderful, beautiful girls, so we we e f li: ting and d inking. 

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One day I was died by the military attache whose aide I 
was. He said that he had received a communication that soon the 
ships with the troops from Gallipoli would start arriving. There 
was a letter advising him to negotiate with the local Varna 
Bulgarian commandant the conditions under which the troops would 
disembark, and to which places they would be sent. Then there 
was a secret message received by him which said that according to 
the agreement the troops should not bring any weapons with them, 
but they were afraid that if they were completely disarmed they 
might not feel as strong as they should, because at that time 
communist uprisings had started everyshe: e in the Balkans, and 
in Bulgaria in particular. So we were asked to see how an 
arrangement could be made so that some of the rifles, machine 
guns and ammunition could be smuggled ashore the disem 
barkation. It was a very delicate task but fortunately I had 
managed to learn Bulgarian in a very short time, and I spoke it 
almost like a Bulgarian, and our counterpart in negotiations in 
Varna was a certain Major Popov, a graduate of the Russian General 
Staff Academy, who was sympathetic to the Russians and also cog 
nizant of the danger of communism for his country. So one day 
during the session of figuring out how the disembarkation would 
proceed, after all the other Bulgarian officers had left, I came 
to him with Colonel Bekhteev, military attache in Varna, who had 
difficulties talking in Bulgarian, and I told him "Listen, you 

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know the danger of communism for your country. Now the Russian 
anti-communist forces are arriving here. We know that according 
to the arrangement between the French and British high commands 
and your country the troops have to be completely disarmed. 
However, do you think that will be in the interest of your 
country? Don't you think that the moment could come that you 
might enlist the support of our White troops to fight the commun 
ists in your country?" 

He was kind of reluctant to give us a straight answer. He 
said "You know our treaty or agreement demands the strict obser 
vation of that, no bringing arms into Bulgaria, but I will cer 
tainly try not to be too particular if you manage to smuggle 
these weapons so that it cannot be observed by anyone outside. " 

So we said we would try to do our best in this respect. 
When the ships came from Constantinople to Bulgaria Colonel 
Bekhteev and I went aboard with the representative of the high 
command. The commanding general, General Kutepov, and his staff 
were there, and we told him exactly what Major Popov told us: 
they could smuggle weapons but it should be cone in such a way 
that no one could think that it was weapons. It was decided to 
bundle bunches of rifles into blankets, and then wrap these in 
tarpaulin, pretending that they contained regular supplies. So 
the order was given on all the ships to wrap up the weapons, and 
finally the moment of disembarkation came. At the entrance to 


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the port where the troops disembarked stood Major Popov and two 
other Bulgarian officers. It so happened that I knew these two 
other officers quite well because among other things I was their 
teacher in fencing. They had good fencing equipment but lacked 
good instruction, so I used to go twice a week to the Bulgarian 
officers' club in Varna and teach fencing. We became friendly 
and I used to go to drink with them, etc. So I was standing with 
them and trying to distract these young officers' attention when 
ever I saw a bundle being smuggled out. Colonel Bekhteev was 
trying to engage Majo: Popov in conversation, but Major Popov 
knew what was going on. 

So we managed to bring off all the weapons that were needed. 
Then the troops were taken to the trains waiting in the Varna 
stations for transport to various places for resettlement. 
Initially they were resettled as organized units, but gradually 
they started to be invited to work in the fields, in the mines, 
etc. and the army started to disintegrate. 

By that time the former Imperial Guard battalion had disem 
barked too, and since I was assigned to that battalion I had to 
report to the senior officer of the Izmailovskii detachment and 
was ordered by him to proceed immediately with the battalion to 
the interior of Bulgaria where the battalion was stationed. So 
I asked Colonel Bekhteev for leave of absence, said goodbye to 
my family, and went with the troops. I lived there about six 

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months and then got permission to return to my duty as aide to 
the attache. 

In August 1922 communist influence in Bulgaria had in 
creased tremendously. Power was taken over by Prime Minister 
Stambouliski who had good connections with the Soviets, and to 
my disgust he invited even some representatives of the Soviet 
military forces who stayed in one of the hotels in Varna. Our 
situation that of the White officers became very precari 
ous. I was wearing my uniform when on duty. 

My good friend in Varna was the son of the British consul 
general, and the young consul general of Yugoslavia, at that 
time called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. He was 
well educated and I brought him into our group. He was spending 
his time flirting with the Russian girls and having a wonderful 
time in our company. 

One day there was a solemn service in the local cathedral 
because it was King Boris 1 birthday, and all military repre 
sentatives were called to attend. When I was walking there I 
met a Russian lady who said, 'Don't go there. 1 

'Why?' I asked. 

She said ' The Bulgarian gendarmerie and the Soviet military 
representatives are arresting Russian officers. You must go 
into hiding. ' 

What will I do? I thought. So I rushed to the home of 

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Mrs. Bostrev and her brother. Her son was sent to our home to 
bring me civilian clothes and I took off my uniform. He also 
brought a suitcase in which I stored my uniform. My parents and 
sister came. I decided to go to the Yugoslav consul, to my 
friend, and he said 'Alright, although I have no authority to 
do so I will give you a Yugoslav passport with a visa which will 
permit you to escape from Bulgaria to Yugoslavia. Stay with me 
here in the consulate; nobody will touch you here. Bring your 
cases here and I will take you to the train and you will be 
safely on your way there. ' 

Some other Russians were also escaping at that time to 

I took the train, saying goodbye to my parents, and we 
crossed the border at a place called Tsaribrod, where representa 
tives of the military attache in Yugoslavia, General Patotski, 
were waiting. 

After I fledy there was a change of government in Bulgaria. 
Under the pro-communist government of Stambouliski the Communists 
were riding high and making difficulties for the White Russian 
units. The organization of Bulgarian patriots and particularly 
the organization of veterans were very much concerned about the 
Stambouliski government, so they organized an uprising and asked 
the Russian troops now scattered throughout Bulgaria to help 
them. Here the rifles and machine guns that we managed to bring 



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into Bulgaria from the ships played an important role. There 
was an uprising against the pro-Red Communist government of 
Stambouliski and the power was seized by the patriotic Bulgarians 
with the help of Russian units. It is said that even Stambouliski 
himself was killed by a Russian bullet. It was probably the last 
bullet fired from a Russian rifle against a pro-communist leader 
in that struggle of Whites against Reds. 

The situation in Yugoslavia was quite different. King 
Alexander had himself been educated in Russia, and Yugoslavia 
owed her existence to Imperial Russia, so the Russians still had 
the Embassy, the military attache, everything, and were helped 
very gene ously by the Yugoslav government. So I came to 
Belgrade. I had no money, except a little I was given on which 
to eat, but didn't have enough to go to a hotel or anywhere else, 
so the first few nights on the generous offer of the military 
attache, General Patotskii, I slept at night on the desks in his 
offices. During the day I just walked around the city. Well, 
soon I found some friends there; I found friends from the past 
in Russia who knew my family etc. and gradually things began to 
look a little brighter. Finally I was given a little room. Ac 
tually it was a room for a servant in the apartments of the 
Russian doctor. It had a bed and was located next to the kit 
chen. Then I got a job selling books and newspapers in the eve 
ning hours at the entrance to a Russian restaurant, on commis 
sion. That was enough to keep body and soul together. I used 

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to wear a raincoat over my officer's uniform while selling the 
books in that little kiosk, then at a certain hour when I was 
supposed to close the shop, I would take off my raincoat and 
again become a young officer and then I would enter the restaur 
ant for a little snack and glass of vodka. The restaurant became 
well known not only among the Russians there, but was frequented 
by representatives of various embassies because of the excellence 
of its food, its balalaika orchestra and gaiety. There I made 
the acquaintance of many members of the foreign colony in 
Belgrade, particularly with the British, Americans and Poles. 

Chapter 35 Scenario VI 

Although I would have many crises in my life later on, that 
was probably the most difficult time of my life. I was on my 
own, without the love and support of my family. I had gradually 
learned to get along with only one arm with their aid, but now 
on departure for Yugoslavia I was alone, penniless, and couldn't 
do any physical job, so I had to adapt and train myself how to 

First of all, I needed money. I started to earn a little 
bit selling books and newspapers in a kiosk, but that couldn't 
buy more than a little food. Shelter was precarious. First I 
spent a few nights on the desks of the military attache and then 
obtained shelter in the servant's room in the house of a doctor 







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who had managed already to establish himself in Belgrade, but it 
was all very shaky and temporary. 

At the same time I had to go to the university. And that 
was both an important step in my life and my financial salvation^ 
because as a Russian student I was admitted free and I had the 
right to get a stipend. 

I didn't have any documents, so in the short span of time 
before classes started my father managed to get me a certificate 
signed by a former principal of the gymnasium which I had at 
tended in Odessa, who lived in Bulgaria and knew me quite well, 
so he gave me a certificate in lieu of the diploma, which I had 

Another man famous among Russian emig: es, Prof. Spektorskii, 
was a professor at the University of Belgrade. He countersigned 
the certificate given by the former principal of my gymnasium, 
so I had a valid document for entrance to the university and was 
admitted to the faculty of law. It was an 8 semester, 4 year 
program. It was slightly different from an American law school; 
the entire University program was devoted to nothing but law. 

P~of . Spektorskii was a very well known law professor. As 
a youth he was a f iend of my father and they both graduated from 
law school at the University of Warsaw. He was one year younger 
than my father. So with his help I got into university. That 
was an important factor because it entitled me to live in student 

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The dormitories were only provided for the Russian students. 
There was a special commission established by the Yugoslav gov 
ernment, on order of King Alexander; the Russo-Serbian Commission 


for Aid to Russian Refugees. This commission functioned in con 
junction with the office of the former ambassador to Yugoslavia, 
who retained his ambassadorial status, because at that time 
Yugoslavia didn't recognize the Bolshevik regime. So that com 
mission was located on the territory of the former Russian Embassy. 
A special building was erected there which included offices of 
that commission and also a theater and gymnasium for sports ac 
tivities; it was a wonderful gift to the Russians by the Yugoslav 
government and people. Well that commission took care of the 
needs of all the Russian refugees, particularly people like me, 
who were disabled during the war, and students. There were 
several dormitories scattered through the Belgrade area. I got 
into a dormitory, which strangely enough was located in the bar 
racks of the Yugoslav gendarmerie. So on the upper floor there 
were gendarmes, and on the lower floor were the students. We 
had a little restaurant there which was a kind of self-governed 
operation the commission provided some funds for food. 

The most impo: tant thing was that as an army officer, and 
invalid, I was getting a stipend of 400 dinars, so I was getting 
a little mo 1 e than other army students at the university. Alto- 


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gether I was getting about 600 dinars. It was not enough to 
live on. It was only about $20. But it provided us with food, 
that was the main thing. We couldn't afford to buy clothing 
though. That was a critical item with me and many other people; 
we all kept our army uniforms. When I got photographed for a 
student ID card I was photographed as a young Russian officer 
with all my decorations and everything. 

1 t f - 

We lived in these dormitories divided into various rooms 
and it was a Bohemian existence. Some people didn't have enough 
to wear if they were invited somewhere, so we were sometimes 
sharing with each other, jackets and so forth. We were eating 
very simple foods in these dorms, mostly macaroni with ground 
beef, Russian cutlets a kind of hamburger etc. We were 
getting only one meal a day; the others we prepared ourselves 
in the rooms by getting milk, making hot cereal^, etc. 

The other thing was, fortunately, by the time I enrolled in 
the university I discovered that there were in Belgrade lots of 
former friends whom I knew from Russia, o.v people who knew me 
through my parents, etc. So very frequently in the evenings I 
was invited out to dinner, and that helped a lot because it was 
food, and the people who were inviting us young officer students 
knew that they were helping us with our food. But the, clothing 
situation was very bad. My boots were ruined completely so I 
Beached a point whe^e I was wearing shoes with leggings which 

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looked like boots. My shoes were so worn that water had started 
to come in from rain and snow. I was desperate; I couldn't get 
money anywhere, and then a little miracle happened. I couldn't 
get enough money even for a streetcar, and I was in full despair. 
Then, when I was walking along the long Milosoverikov Street, 
returning from a little party of some friends and acquaintances, 
I saw there was money scatte ed along the streetcar track, so I 
walked along that track picking up bills. By the time I had fin 
ished that walk I had just enough money to buy a pair of shoes. 
Somebody had apparently lost that money while hanging on the 

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streetcar. My position was such that I jswt went^to the store 
and bought myself a pair of shoes. 

Besides the friends who were inviting me, there were many 
Russian organizations, primarily military organization^. First 
of all there were the former officers of the Izmailovskii regi 
ment to which I was accepted. Some of them had come to Belgrade 
much earlier and invited me to their apartments. And there were 
other organizations We gathered first in cheap Russian est- 
au ants, and then a little officers' club was o ganized and we 
gathered there. So that was an outlet for me because I couldn't 
afford to eat practically anything; I would o.vder a little hors 
d'oev:e and one shot of vodka and that was all But gradually I 
lea-ned how to manage myself with one arm, and that was impor 
tant. I learned how to tie my shoelaces. At that time I didn't 


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have a tie, as I was still wearing my uniform. Only going to the 
university I would take off my epaulettes and insignia and go in 
uniform without any insignia. 

The faculty of law had a unified cur iculum. It was manda 
tory for all students, and there were no electives, no majors 
o." secondary subjects, and no division between undergraduate 
and graduate subjects. Completion of this kind of European uni 
versity studies was equivalent to some graduate work in the 
American university.. 

These were the subjects: First of all the: e was the ency 
clopedia of law or general theory of law: Roman, law, criminal 
law, civil law, administrative law, commercial, constitutional, 
inheritance, financial law, and medicine in criminology, the lat 
ter an interesting subject presented to the university by a for 
mer friend of my father, Senator Tregubov. There was political 
economy, contracts, corporations, civil process, criminal pro 
cess, the constitution of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, universal 
histo y, statistics, and church law. 

Fortunately, attendance at lectures was not mandatory and 
actually was not necessary. What was necessa y was to be sure 
that each professor knew you: face, so you made a point of at 
tending a few of his lectures, and came afte lectures with cer 
tain questions and so fo th. All lectures we: e published in 

*Aff (c*+J 

typewritten and printed materials. There were certain books. 




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The Yugoslav government had started to function 
only two years before, and professors were writing their own 
texts and then duplicating them and distributing them to their 
students, so actually my study of law coincided with my study 
of the language. I came without a knowledge of Serbo-Croatian, 
so I profited most from sitting in the dormitories and studying 
the papers. That gave me time to go around at will, with the 
exception of seminars, which were mandatory. We had to attend 
the seminars and pass the tests, at the end of which we had to 
present to each professo 1 our individual student record and ob 
tain his signature in order to be qualified to continue the course 
Here it was important that the professo: knew you; he looked at 
you, checked your record and signed. That is how it was done 
there. Subjects had to be taken in groups of three. I was ex 
posed to that only one year and then they changed that rule and 
then the siibjects were examined individually. Attendance of 
seminars was mandatory because your stipend from the Russian 
military command depended upon your success in the school. 

Russian intellectual community life in Belgrade f lou: ished, 
I could participate in it only so far as it did not demand ex- 
penditu e of money, which I didn' ~ have. Of course a Russian 
church was immediately organized. The first se. vices we e held 
in a big tent while the church was being built. The..e were lots 
of high hierarchy of the church there. A Holy Synod in exile 

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was organized and resided about 50 miles away in a place called 


Srbskii Karlovtsy, the si=t of the Serbian patriarch, so he gave 
a certain monastery as the site of that Synod. Most of them I 
knew, since I was evacuated on the steamer which carried most 
of this hierarchy out of Russia. 

The ballet was exclusively under the guidance of Russians; 
Russian singers were in Belgrade opera and other operas. Russian 
gymnasia (high schools plus the equivalent of 2 years of junio 
college^) opened. They were for boys and gi: Is. Then they opened 
a kindergarten. So there was a lot going on. 

There were some very famous people living in Belgrade at 
that time. Anna Pavlovna lived there and I was privileged to 
meet her through acquaintance with the Poliakov family. 
Poliakova was a famous ballerina who was at the head of the ballet 
school of the Belgrade theater. Then the famous Russian basso, 
Feodor Chaliapin, once came to Belgrade to give a concert. For 
that purpose I managed to save some money and attended that mag 
nificent concert at the state opera. 

There were many famous Russian military leaders of World 
War I in Belgrade. Some of them received a salary f : om the 
Yugoslav kingdom's foreign service in recognition of their ser 
vice in World War I, which actually broke out to save the Serbs 
from the Austrian onslaught. 

o r j 

'J b. 

Chapter 36 Scenario VI 

Here I will name some impo: tant people who passed through 
Belgrade at that time and left a trace in the history not only 
of Russia but of World War I and the Revolution. I know that 
these people whom I am going to mention will sometime belong to 
a legend of the old past and may present interest for future 
historians, because some historians like that kind of individual 
accounts of unimportant people like me, for composing compre 
hensive history of these turbulent times. The history of the 
battle of Waterloo, for instance, was supplemented by the accounts 
of young officers in the British and French armies or in the army 
of General Blucher which gave to history an interesting personal 
ized angle. 

For me as a student, life in Belgrade was a constant strug 
gle for survival. As I said, I had my military uniform and that 
was all. To buy clothing was absolutely impossible, because I 
was getting about 600 dinars, or less than $20 a month, from 
which I had to buy food and other essentials at a time when a 
civilian suit cost probably 1500 dinars. So it was impossible; 
I would have had to stop eating for three or four months to buy 
myself a suit. 

I had difficulties at first in university because I didn't 
know the language, but fortunately Serbo-Croatian is very close 














to Russian, particularly in its grammatical structure. And being 
young, with the highest motivation, by simply reading the text 
materials and talking with my colleagues and students, I learned 
the language very fast, so that toward the end of my studies I 
was able to correct the works of my Yugoslav fellow students. 
Strangely enough, by constant exposure I learned the language 
without ever opening a grammar book. By reading and talking with 
my friends, the structure of the language became evident to me 
through that process of reading, and I developed a good style in 
writing. I was also complimented because I learned the language 
without an accent, unlike most of the Russians, who couldn't 
speak it without retaining the heavy Russian accent. But I 
managed to learn it cold without an accent, and on many an occa 
sion when talking to people I had not known before they asked 
'Oh did you come from Slovenia or Croatia?' They detected a 
little difference, but since Yugoslavia was composed of a number 
of nationalities, there were dialect diversities, so that if you 
spoke a relatively neutral language it wasn't necesarily the 
purest Serbian, o.v Croatian. So no one could detect if I was a 
foreigner; they only knew they couldn't determine f om what part 
of Yugoslavia I actually catie. It was very flatte ing and of 
course helped me in my wo k in the university and later on. 

Again I go into parentheses and tell another story of the 
beginning of my life in Belgrade. A certain Russian colonel 

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whom I knew from the Izmailovskii guard battalion got the repre 
sentation of a French firm from Paris: Pech Majeu. He asked me 
to be his sub-agent. He was probably getting 10% and I was to 
get half of that. He was handling prestigious Mumm Champaigne 
and the liqueur Cointreau, so I was selling that, and also shoe 

polish, and savon dentifrice, soap for cleaning teeth at that 

it uj.s ^sA a^ee, 

tima very modern in western Europe ^instead of toothpaste! not 

in tubes but in little containers, like soap. I was working on 
selling these things in my free time and gained quite a few cus 
tomers. I was particularly successful in selling champaigne and 
cointreau. I probably violated all the rules of commerce because 
I actually offered my customers a 1% reduction of the established 
price. Now in the U.S. I know that that is in violation of the 
rules of commerce, but at that time I didn't know anything about 
that. But they were certainly inclined to buy champaigne from me 
rather than from other people. And remember it was the gay '20's 
at that time, not only in the United States but all over Europe, 
including the Balkans, so American tunes, jazz, and the Charleston 
were played everywhere in the nightclubs, and there were many 
nouveau riche in Yugoslavia who were showing off by ordering 
French champaigne. So I was selling French champaigne to the 
nightclubs. Here in the U.S. we know only one variety of Mumm 
champaigne .Coirdori Roug^e but at that time I was selling a 
variety of it. There was Cojjdon^ Rouc^e, Cordon Vert (o green 




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ribbonV and Goute Ajnericaine (American taste) and arte_^l_anche, 
or white. The names indicated whether they were very dry or 
less so. Green was sweeter, and was considered to be mostly for 
ladies. Extra dry or sec: was Goute Americaine; less dry was 

I also became friendly with the boot polishers who were 
scattered around Belgrade at the entrances to theaters, at movie 
houses, etc. , and they evidently sympathized with my position, so 
they were buying their shoe polish from me. At that time it was 
a tradition, not like nowadays, to have your shoes always shining. 
So shoe polish was also a good source of income. But that didn't 
last very long. The former colonel lost his representation from 
France and that was the end of that enterprise too and this 
source of income dried up. However, through it I got to know 
lots of people. 

Meanwhile, the family of General Dobrovolskii came and set 
tled in Belgrade. As I mentioned before I was seriously in love 
with the younger daughter? there ware two charming girls, well 
educated with a high degree of sophistication: they spoke 
beautiful French, they had good taste in clothing, etc. They 
were fortunate enough to be in better financial position than I 
was. General Doborvolskii, upon arrival, was immediately invited 
by the Yugoslav wa|T ministry to start working there, so he was 
getting a good salary Then the older daughter got a position 






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in the Franco-Serbian Bank, as she spoke perfect French. My 
sweetheart, Natalie, or Nadia, didn't work at that time, and 
Dobrovolskii' s house was open house for all friends; there were 
gatherings and we were invited to weekend dinners, and there 
were many other young people coming there because they liked the 
company of these girls as well as I did. One of the friends was 
the son of General Sannikov, who had been a commanding general 
of Odessa. He came also to live in Belgrade and I met him, and 
his son was my very dear friend. He liked Nadia very much and 
several years after my love affair with Nadia, he married her. 
As a poor student and invalid with very bleak prospects of earn 
ing good money, I couldn't think of marriage at that time. 

There were many Russian restaurants, at least a dozen of 
them, and some people opened restaurants and eating places in 
their own houses, which helped them solve their food problem. 
There some delightful hostesses who were helping people 
like me and providing us with expensive food, and even here some 
times I couldn't pay for the food and they nould extend me a 
credit until the amount reached a certain point and they would 
say 'No, no more until you pay what you owe us,. ' There were many 
Russian credit unions, so I would borrow some money to pay that 
and then go to another union to borrow money to pay the first 
one; it was a very unpleasant time. However it was modified by 
the fact that there were so many fine people among whom I was 

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circulating. We ha d the most wonderful talks, sometimes into 
the late hours, on problems of philosophy, o music. I had a 
good friend who was an accomplished pianist. He was, by the way, 
very much in love with the older Dobrovolskii sister, Irene. It 
was he who introduced me to Scriabin, with whose music I was not 
then familiar. So it was a strange life, with extreme poverty 
on one side, and a very high intellectual and social life on the 
other. It was a difficult but at the same time most wonderful 
time of my life. Spiritually and intellectually it was a very 
rich life, and this was a phenomenon of the Russian emigration. 
The cream of the Russian intelligentsia had managed to escape 
from the Soviet massacre and settle abroad. 

Chapter 37 Scenario VI 

In my narrative I have dwelt too long upon the general 
conditions prevailing during my first years of immigration in 
Belgrade, rather than registering in chronological sequence the 
flow of events involving me and affecting my life. But this is 
unavoidable, because without these background notes on the con 
ditions in which the Russian emigrants were living, without 
describing the forces that motivated and influenced the behavior 
of the Russians in their first years of exile it would be hard 

for me to tell my personal story. Afterall, I was a part of 


this emigre community and there is no doubt that at my age in 






those years, the early 20' s, my outlook and my life philosophy 
were greatly influenced and affected by the interplay of forces 
prevailing among the Russian emigre groups and the ideological 
aspects of those times affecting growth of my inner self. 

I was continuing to be very seriously involved in anti- 
communist political activities. My blood boiled at the outrage 
ous news coming from Russia at that time, 1922; at the incredible 
specter of the dehumanization of the people of Russia, the 
destruction of cultural and historical monuments, of the thousand 
years of the glorious past of Russia and the terrible terror 
which continued to reign in the land of my ancestry. We learned 
in exile of the hundreds of thousands of people being tortured 
and killed in the Crimea after we, the soldiers of the White Army 
were forced to leave Russia in Novevber 1920. We heard of mass 
uprisings of peasants in many regions of central Russia and 
Siberia. The peasants resented their new masters because they 
didn't give them the new land they promised and forced them into 
communes which they detested. These uprisings were brutally sup 
pressed by Red Army units under the guidance of the Cheka, the 
progenitor of the present-day KGB. And the Cheka was headed by 
the very sinister character, of Polish descent, Dzherzhinskii, 
who was also acting on orders of Lenin and Trotskii. The sailors 
of the fortress of Kronstadt, which is located in the bay of 
Finland, protecting the Russian capital Petrograd, w ho were con- 















sidered the most loyal force of the Bolshevik Revolution, had 
revolted too, and were g3=T annihilated by a larger force of Red 
Army units. The Red terror continued to reign everywhere in 
Russia and whole groups or whole classes of the population were 
the target of that terror again the former officers, former 
members of the police force, judges, some professors, and the 
clergy. The idea of Bolsheviks at that time were to try to 
destroy the best brains of the country who could possibly be 
heading opposition. 

All these atrodities occurring in Russia were well known to 
the rest of the world, but Russia's former allies, near-sighted 
and self-content after the victory of World War I, were not 
interested in what happened in Russia. They didn't listen to 
us, the White Army warriors, but fell under the spell of pro- 
communist propaganda. They considered us as wealthy aristo 
crats who had fled from Russia because we were unhappy with the 
new government which took from us our lands and money and de 
prived us of a life of luxury at the expense of the poor muzhiks. 
How far they were from the real truth, and how stupid they were 
in that concept, because not too many really wealthy landlords 
had escaped from Russia most of them perished, and we, cer 
tainly not I, didn't belong to this wealthy class. My father 
was a judge, and we lived on his salary. 

Communism was slowly spreading throughout the world, and 

- ; 




. . .-... - 

'' ' 






" " ' ' 




there were communist uprisings in Germany, France, Italy, and 
Greece. In the United States the Communist party began to grow 
very strong and influential. 

Looking back to those times now, I am convinced that my 
super-active life of intellectual involvement, curiosity and 
ideology was a sub-conscious manifestation of something inside 
of me which was striving to compensate for my physical disabil 
ity. I was burning with all these problems of political, philo 
sophical and moral issues. I was a voracious reader of every 
thing I would get; I read a tremendous number of books at that 
time. In spite of the fact that I didn't have much time, I was 
reading a very diversified fare, the spectrum of books in philo 
sophy and history, in three languages. Most of this was in 
Russian of course; there was a tremendous number of Russian 
books available in the libraries. One of the first things that 
Russian emigres opened at that time were libraries. Then I was 
reading English books, at that time popular on the continent, 
books published in Leipzig, the so-called Tauschnitz editions. 
And of course I was reading in Serbo-Croatian. Their literature 
was not very rich, however I read some books on folklore and 
learned about the South Slavs. All that was a pleasant experi 
ence, on a background of financial crisis and the misery of 
everyday life and struggle for daily bread. This woTd misery 
that I have used is probably too strong; it only describes my 

- i aril 






- . . . 





' ; 




financial situation, which objectively was not very good. It 
was a miserable life as far as conditions of food, lodging and 
so forth were concerned; I never had enough money for anything; 
I was sometimes hungry, but it didn't matter otherwise, spir 
itually and socially, I lived a very full and enjoyable life, 
with many friends. 

Today it would be apropos to make a reference to when this 
recording is being made. Today is 4 April 1975, and as I am 
making this I have to refer to events that are going on right 
now. Our involvement in Southeast Asia is apparently coming to 
an end; Cambodia is apparently in the hands of the Khmer Rouge. 
Congress has refused to sanction payment of $100 million to the 
South Vietnamese government. President Ford warns of the effect 
of withdrawal on other nations of Southeast Asia, and calls the 
plight of the refugees trying to escape South Vietnam "a great 
human tragedy". 

Now with my experience this "great human tragedy" and the 
domino theory fits in with my own experience. The first piece 
of that domino fell down at the end of the Russian civil war, 
when we, the an ti- communist Russians, the White Russian a 1 my, 
were completely abandoned by our allies, our great allies, and 
were forced to abandon the Crimea under the most terrible con 
ditions. There were not enough vessels to accomodate all the 
people who wanted to flee, and that was "a great human tragedy". 

)OC ' 





- ' 


' v 








Only human memory is short; President Ford and his cabinet mem 
bers don't remember that time. But I .remember, and to me it was 
a great human tragedy when the anti-communist Russians who could 
n't get on the ships in the Crimea were killed by the Red forces, 
and Russia was seized by the communists. It was the first domino 
to fall, and after that followed all the history of communist 
successes in the world, seizure of many other countries, and 
what we have now. Fighting the Viet Cong in Viet Nam was like 
fighting world communism by proxy. We didn't dare to fight Red 
China, which stood behind the Viet Cong, or the Soviet Union, 
which helped North Viet Nam, so we only helped the anti-communist 
forces in South Viet Nam. But it is very hard to fight the 
forces behind which stand the two largest, strongest communist 
nations in the world, Red China and the Soviet Union, with a 
population of a billion people, almost one third of the wo.vld's 
population. And who let these forces grow so powerful and dan 
gerous? The western world. The western world did not want to 
listen to the first anti-communists who came out of Russia full 
of stories of terror and who asked for nothing except financial 
support so that they could find and destroy communism at its 
very conception. We were so close to Moscow that if only help 
had been extended at that time, Russia, the first domino, would 
not have tumbled down. 

My closest friend in Belgrade at that time was George Orda, 

; : -/JnC 


- . 

a 02; 






who was with me in Odessa gymnasium and whom I later met in Varna 
for a short time, and then again in Belgrade. This friendship 
was really a lasting one. He visited us once in Pacific Grove, 
and I visited him in Germany, where he lives now. 

Orda was successful from the very start, for the following 
reasons. His father was director of the Kiev branch of the 
Imperial State Bank and it so happened that his branch was as 
signed to handle all the financial transactions for struggling 
Serbia and Nikola Pasich, the prime minister of Serbia. At the 
time we were in Yugoslavia, he was one of the men who were deal 
ing with Orda while he was still in Kiev, so when the Orda family 
came to Belgrade, and Orda ' s father went to see Nikola Pasich, he 
immediately gave him a good job in the Yugoslav National Bank 
so his career was secure. My friend George Orda, with the recom 
mendation of this powerful prime minister Pasich, got a job in 
the commercial bank, at a good salary; his older sister was also 

employed by a French company, so the family had sufficient income 


and could live better than most of the Russian refugees. Well I 

must say that they were very kind, and I teas. spen<te^| lots of time 

in their apartment. I remember that my first civilian clothes 
were hand-me-downs from George Orda? he had graduated to fancier 
attire but he gave me his first one, which was actually made out 
of khaki. It was military material, but was shaped like a sports 
jacket and pants, and I had only to take it to a tailor to make 

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adjustments so that it would fit me. That was my first civilian 

While I worked at the university and lived in the student 
dorms, I was very much concerned about my parents and sister who 
still lived in Bulgaria and who were writing rather desperate 
letters about conditions there. They had no money; the money 
that they had got for that famous gold watch was almost coming 
to an end. My father didn't get much as a librarian, and my 
mother as a teacher in the Russian kindergarten also couldn't get 
enough money for living. So their situation was very precarious 
and they were thinking of coming to Belgrade, where there were 
possibilities for both mother and my sister Tania to get better 

That was an involved thing because I didn't have enough 
money to pay initially for an apartment but I was thinking of 
borrowing money and bringing them in. However, in 1924 a big 
event in the family took place. In the summer of that year my 
parents were celebrating the 25th anniversary of their wedding 
their silver wedding anniversary and I was determined to go 
to Varna and spend some time with them. Of course again there 
was the matter of money; I managed to get a loan from the Russian 
credit union, and as an invalid I managed to get a railroad 
ticket at half price because Russian war invalids were treated 
the same way as the Serbians. So I went to Varna and spent a 


; -rfW 



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couple of wonderful weeks with the family. This event of our 
family being together on our parents' silver anniversary is 
recorded on one of the photos that I still possess. 

My father was now very frail; the experience in the Cheka 
prison in Odessa had ruined his health; he was a different man, 
who couldn't even work hard anymore. As I said before, being 
exposed to the threat of being executed every night for several 
months and seeing his best friends being taken away and shot, 
had broken him spiritually. So Father couldn't work; and we 
were very concerned about his health. Well, it was a wonderful 
reunion and I came back encouraged at seeing my family and hap 
pily lived through 1926 when I graduated from the university and 
started looking for a job. 

Chapter 28 Scenario VI 

I didn't get my diploma from the university at that time 
because the federal tax was 400 dinars. I didn't have that 
money, so instead of that I just got a little statement from the 
university, which was as good as a fancy diploma, saying that I 
had successfully completed the course in the law school. 

There were many jobs open, particularly in the Yugoslav 
government, but you had to find some kind of pull to get you in. 
But, by golly, I got that pull. We Russians gathered after 
church services, particularly, and I heard someone mention the 

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fon-Lang. I I saidV'Wait a second, 

fon-Lang? I have an 

uncle by that name!' 


'Yes, ' I said. 

'Well, do you know that the former Mrs fon-Lang, the widow 
of a guard officer fon-Lang is wife of the present minister of 
the Royal court in Belgrade, Nenadich? 1 

'Impossible,' I said. 'I have to see that.' 

But I learned that it was true, so I gathered courage, found 
their number in the telephone book and called that number and 
asked for Mrs. Nenadich. When I identified myself as Albov and 
told her that her first husband, Colonel fon-Lang, who was killed 
during World War I, was my uncle, she was quite excited and said 
"Oh, how wonderful! Why don't you come to see us *?" and 
she gave the address and said "Come for supper on such and such 
day." I thanked her very much, but the trouble was that I didn't 
have proper attire to put on. So I turned to friends, one of 
whom lent me his white shirt, . Another one his tie, another some 
more decent shoes, another his striped pants, and even 
a black jacket, so that I really looked out of this world, pos 
sibly a bit ridiculous; but it was alright, I was going to visit 
a minister of the royal court. So I went to see them. Mr 
Nenadich was very much impressed that I was speaking fluent 

K 1 5, u; . f* 

Serbo-Croatian, and I spoke Russian with test. She told me that 

''.-nO- 9niS i 

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she had been widowed in Novorossiisk, south Russia. Mr. Nenadich 
was at that time the Serbian consul there and they met and were 
ma -cried. 

Well, looking at me he apparently realized that I needed a 
job, because I told him I had just completed studies at the 
university. He said, '*You need a job. " "Yes, " I said, "very 
badly." "Oh," he said, ''it's no problem, I'll get you a job. 
Here is my card. " And he presented me with his calling card, 
with its very impressive title, Minister of the Royal Court of 
Yugoslavia. On the back he wrote: "The bearer of this card, 
Alexander Albov, is a relative of my wife, and therefore I ask 
you to get him a position in your administration. " And that 
was addressed to the director of the Belgrade office of the 
Yugoslav railroad administration. 

Well, after dinner was over I thanked them very much and 
next day I dashed to the railroad administration and asked to 
see the director. Looking at me, the secretary said, "Oh I 
don't think he can see you today? you need an appointment; he 
is a very busy man. " Then I pulled out that card and showed 
it to her, and you should have seen the change. Suddenly every 
body jumped up and said "Oh, please sit downj just a second; the 
director will probably see you right now,'" The secretary rushed 
me to the director's office and the man came out himself holding 
that card in his hand. "Oh, " he said, ''so you are a relative of 

no i 

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. . 





Mrs. Nenadich ; I am glad to meet you. He says that you would 
like to get a job? you will have it, come to my office. " I went 
into his office; he picked up his telephone, called someone and 
said "I am sending to you a young fellow, just graduated from 
law school. Please take him into your office, it is already 
approved by me; send me a routine letter; I would like him to be 
employed immediately. " 

It was again like a little miracle; I forgot initially of 
course that I didn't have at that time Yugoslav citizenship; 
therefore I couldn't be made a permanent employee; it was a temp 
orary position, but I was getting 30 dinars a ^ay. I was put into 
an office, initially my job was very dull; I had to sit and 
figure out the quantity of oil used by the engines on the rail 
road in certain areas, etc. , to figure out the premium to be 
paid to those engineers who saved oil, etc. Later on they moved 
me into the legal office and assigned me to the social security 
branch of the railroad administration which was located separately 
together with the little hospital and dispensary, etc. I was 
very glad because it was a very nice job I got there; they made 
me an investigator of railroad accidents. My task was actually 
to follow up the accidents that happened to railroad personnel. 
I was not interested in the passengers, that was for someone else. 
I got a magic card a railroad pass which permitted me to 
use any kind of rolling stock to move when an accident happened 




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anywhere within the jurisdiction of the Belgrade railroad admin 
istration. It was a very interesting and exciting job; I was 
frequently called from various places and had to go there by the 
first available train, and sometimes by locomotive; I investigated 
on the spot the circumstances by which railroad personnel were 
wounded or killed, and had to establish whether the injury or 
death were caused during performance of their duties, whether 
there was an element of gross negligence involved, etc. And 

then I prepared a report, atnu^ifttJ uu1 all the necessary paper 


work, including a draft of a decision for awarding a pension for 

disabled people or to the families of the deceased. 'Some inter 

esting things happened to me in these travels. One such experience 
I have described in a little article, which tells of what happened 
to me during one of my investigations, /of a railroad accident which 
had occurred outside of Belgrade. 







Everyone who lived or traveled in Europe before World War II 

knew that fabulous train which linked Western Europe with the Balkans 

Simp Ion 
and the Near East and which was called the/Orient Express. 

The train was composed of only first-class sleepers - dark blue 
carriages with an inscription in gold which read, in French, "Compagnie 
Internationale des Wagons Lits et des Grands Express Europeens." On 
the side of each car there was attached a small white board showing 
its destination. It was "London - Istanbul" when the train was East- 
bound and "Istanbul - London" when Westbound. 

In all countries through which it passed the Express always had 
number one priority. All other trains had to wait on the side tracks 
until it thundered by majestically like a blue bolt through the big 
and small stations where stationmasters in their red topped duty caps 
stood at attention and saluted it. 

The Express was a train of wealth, glamour, international intrigues, 
mystery, and romance. There was luxurious deep carpeting in its corridors 
and compartments j dark mahogany wood paneling on its inside walls and 
doors j glittering bronze railings and doorknobs; and the always present 
faint scent of expensive French perfumes and cigars. It had the best 
cuisine in the world and only the best wines were served in its dining 

The description of the train would not be complete without a few 
words about its car attendants - those clean-shaven polite men, dressed 

in semi -military brown uniforms with tight tunics with brass buttons, 
and visored caps. They spoke practically every European language. Who 
were those men? It was rumored that sometimes young general staff 
officers of certain European countries managed to spend their tour 
of duty on the trai?, hidden behind assumed names and brown tunics. 
There were also some young members of the vanishing European aristocracy 
who got jobs on the Orient Express. I knew personally a German baron and 
a Russian count who served on the train. 

As in the French Foreign Legion so in the service of the Orient 
Express - they did not ask your real name when they hired you; they 
demanded of you only loyalty, courteous service and discreetness. 
Now a few words about its passengers. 

Probably the most characteristic single thing about the Orient 
Express passengers was that most of them pretended not to be what they 
really were. Whether they were throwing around "hot" money or spending 
secret funds of an intelligence service or were on expense accounts, or 
even using their own money - no one could tell. Kings, diplomats, as 
well as prime ministers, traveled incognito on the great train. 

And the women of the Orient Express! They were as fabulous as 
the train itself. Who were they? Members of the European royalty? 
Famous courtesans? Mata Haris? Unattached adventuresses? I don*t 
know. They were dressed in the most exquisite latest Paris fineries, 
expensive furs; some of them wore diamonds almost as big as those in 
the Crown jewelry case in the Tower of London. 


I Board the Train 

For all practical purposes I did not belong to any category of th e 
passengers which I described above. I was not rich, international 
intrigues did not interest me and I did not have access to any secret 
funds or an expense account. I was just a young bachelor, fresh from 
law school and holding a Yugoslav government job which paid just enough 
to keep my sould and body together, but I had an advantage over many 
other young men. I worked for the Railroad Administration, and my work 
as investigator of railroad accidents thrust into my hands a most precious 
piece of slick cardboard - a free railroad ticket which entitled me to 
use, in the performance of my duties, anything that rolled on wheels on 
the railroad tracks, beginning with a handcar and ending with the express 

In connection with my work I had the opportunity to travel on the 
Orient Express, but usually just short distances during the day, and 
had a chance to observe that unique institution and its transient in 
habitants while modestly sipping coffee in the dining car. 

One morning in the summer of 1928, a telephone call in my Belgrade 
office informed me that there was a smashup of freight trains at Lapovo, 
a small station about halfway between Belgrade and Nish. In 20 minutes 
I was in a train. The whole matter was a routine one. I arrived at 
the destination in the afternoon, spent the rest of the day going 
through details of the train accident, visited two injured trainmen in 
the local hospital. Their injuries were not serious, but it took me 


a while until I finally finished filling out various forms and drafting 
my report. I had a delicious dinner in a garden restaurant near the 
railroad station, eating charcoal-broiled little sausages called 
"cevapcici" and drinking "spritzers" (ice cold wine mixed with soda). 
I was a little bit oblivious of the time when I returned to the station 
and was surprised to learn from the stationmaster that I missed the 
last evening train to Belgrade and that until morning there were no more 
trains with the exception of the Orient Express which passed through 
Lapovo at about 3:00 AM, arrived in Belgrade around 6:00 AM. 

"Does it stop here?" I asked. 

"Very rarely," answered the stationmaster, and apparently wanting 
to show off a little before a junior employee from the Railroad Adminis 
tration, added, "However, I can make it stop and give you a chance 
to board it here." 

It was a warm summer night and I didn't mind waiting. Shortly 
before 3:00 AM in the quiet early morning from far away I heard first 
a barely audible and then rapidly increasing rumbling sound of the 
approaching train. Two extremely bright lights appeared, approaching 
very fast. I glanced in the direction of tie stationmaster who already 
stood at attention, waiting for the train. He reassuringly smiled at 
me. With grinding sound of powerful brakes and showers of sparks flying 
under the wheels the train stopped. I boarded it and immediately found 
myself in a world of luxury, quiet and comfort. The train moved, 
rumbling over switches, and soon resumed its majestic smooth, slightly 
rolling run. A car attendant and conductor came up to me. I proudly 
produced my railroad ticket. 

"Your ticket entitles you to travel by this train," said the 
conductor, "but this is an all sleeping car train and you don't have 
a reserved berth accommodation." 

So, I had to reconcile myself to spending the rest of the night 
sitting on one of those small folding seats which are at each end of 
the sleeping carriages and usually used by conductors or car attendants. 
I sat down and apparently soon fell asleep because I was startled when 
a conductor tapped me on the shoulder. 

"I completely forgot," he said, "that at Istanbul, because of an 
overflow of passengers, they added to this train one non-sleeper car, 
and I believe I will be able to make you more comfortable in one of the 
compartments of that carriage. You are a young man and deserving of 
good company for the next three yours." He winked at me and smiled. 

I followed him through the gently rolling train, subdued blue 
lights burining in its quiet corridors. Finally we reached our destination. 
It was a regular first-class European car with separate compartments but 
without berths. The conductor stopped in front of one of the compart 
ments and gently knocked on the door. "Come in," said a melodious 
female voice, in French. I opened the door. A heavy built man covered 
with his overcoat slept on one of the two red soft upholstered divans. 
On the other, opposite, an extremely attractive young lady sat near the 
window. She was reading a book. She was beautiful, with the "puth" 
of platinum blond hair framing her gentle oval face. She looked up 
at me and smiled. She wore over her dress an expensive raglan type 
raincoat. In my rusty French I murmurred apologies but she told me 
that there was plenty of space on the divan for me and that she did 

not intend to lie down again as she had to change trains at Belgrade. 

While my mind searched for an opening gambit for conversation, 
she looked at me and asked in that beautiful Parisian French, "Tell 
me, please, Monsieur, when are we due in Belgrade?" 

"At six o'clock," answered I, still trying to think of something 

interesting to say. But she talked again. 

"I would like/ to do me a favor. I need to buy a new ticket in 

Belgrade, since I am going to change trains there and continue to Budapest. 
But I don't feel too well and I would like to rest a while. If it is 
not an imposition, could you do me that favor and buy me the ticket? 
I have only foreign currency with me, so I would like to give you my 
passport with which you could exchange the currency for local currency." 

The ice was broken, and gaining more confidence, I plunged into 
animated conversation with Madam X. She gave me her Turkish passport 
and some money. Noticing my surprise because she certainly did not 
look like a Turkish woman, with her perfect Parisian French accent, 
blond hair and blue-grey eyes she explained that she is French by 
birth, married to a Turkish diplomat whose duty station was in Budapest 
where she was now going to join him. 

In a whisper I asked her about the fat gentleman on the opposite 
seat. "Is he your uncle, chaperon who is he?" She laughed so loudly 
that I was afraid she would waken him, 

"No", she said, "he is a German fellow, very good natured, who 
spends his time mostly sleeping or eating." 

This matter resolved, I began to feel more confident about a possible 
adventure, when she suddenly expressed a desire to lie down and stretch 


out on the divan. She kicked off her little slippers and I helped 
to make her more comfortable. She closed her eyes and said something 
in a whisper. I did not hear what she said and bent over close to her 
face close to her lips But suddenly she moaned. Her face turned ash 
pale, her lips quivered and she cried that she has a terrible pain and 
was going to die. 

"Please tell me how I can help you," pleaded I. She opened her 
eyes, looked at me and whispered, "Get a doctor, quickly." The last 
vestige of a summer night's adventurous dream evaporated. I had to help 
this beautiful and suffering woman and do it fast. 

I wakened the German fellow and explained to him what had transpired. 
We both came out of the compartment. First I found the conductor and 
told him what happened. "I will get you a doctor," said he. "I know 
there is one from Belgrade on the train." 

We both ran through quiet corridors to the car where the doctor 
slept. I knocked at the door and since no one answered, the conductor 
opened it with his pass key. I awakened the man. "Are you a doctor," 
asked I. 

"Yes, what is the matter?" he answered, still half asleep. 

Now I said something that changed completely the next few hours 
of my life. To understand it you should know that in the Serbian 
language one and the same word is used to indicate "woman" and "wife." 
That word is "zena." So in my excitement I said something to the 
effect that there is a "wife" (woman) dying in another carriage. (There 
is no "a" or "the" articles in the Serbian language either.) 

The doctor jumped to his feet, put an overcoat over his pajamas 

and followed me running through the train, with the conductor opening 
the doors for us leading from one car to another. 

A little group of people gathered in front of the door of the 
compartment where my recent acquaintance lay so seriously sick. I 
rushed in with the doctor following. She was moaning, dreadfully pale, 
with perspiration drops on her beautiful face. I bent over her, took 
her hand and told her softly in French, "I brought you a doctor." 

She looked at me and whispered, "Please leave me to consult with 
him in privacy." I turned to the doctor and told him that the "woman" 
("wife") wanted to talk to him but I warned him that she spoke only 
French. "It's all right," said the doctor, "I speak French." 

I left them alone and closed behind me the sliding door. The 
passengers in the corridor surrounded me asking what happened. I had 
very little information besides the fact that a lady passenger became 
very sick and the doctor was now with her. 

At that moment the sliding door of the compartment opened with 
a bang. The doctor, almost as pale as his patient and looking very 
angry, shouted at me, "How did you dare to take your wife on a trip 
in such a condition? She is going to have a baby right now!" 
"Doctor," I said, "I would like to explain that..." 
"I don't want, and have no time to listen to, your stupid ex 
planations. As a doctor I will give you the orders and you will 
carry them out." 

There was no use for me to argue. So I just listened. 
"You have to get me some clean bed sheets, towels, blankets and 
hot water, immediately. Before Belgrade there is not a single large 
town with a hospital, so you have to arrange that the train stops at 


the first station so that you could send a telegram to Belgrade requesting 
an ambulance to wait for our arrival." 

The conductor and I were ready to rush to follow orders, when the 
doctor stopped me again. 

"I want you also to find an elderly woman who could help me." 

With this he disappeared into the compartment. The conductor 
and I swung into action. The German fellow was assigned to guard the 

The Orient Express was not quite the train to be easily converted 
into a maternity ward. I had to run like mad and use all my power of 
persuasion to detain clean bed sheets, blankets, and towels from the 
sleeping car attendant. The conductor went to get a pail of hot water 
and to send a signal to the engineer on the locomotive that the train 
was to stop at the first station. In the meantime a beautiful summer 
day was dawning and the sun was already rising. 
The Tunnel 

I heard a whistle from the locomotive and the train started to 
slow down. As soon as the train slowed down I jumped out and started 
to run to the stationmaster who came to me in a state of great excitement. 
I'm sure it was the first time in his career that the great train stopped 
at his little station. I told him about the emergency and the message 
he was to send immediately to Belgrade. 

The train started moving again when I was boarding it. It was 
already 5: 00AM. I came back to continue my vigil before the closed 
door of the compartment. The news had spread and more people gathered 
around me asking what happened. I was tired of repeating the story. 
All my thoughts were about that woman and soon I found myself pacing 


the rolling corridor floor and praying for the mother-to-be and the 
expected infant. 

The conductor looked at his watch and said, "In thirty minutes 
we will be in Belgrade. I hope everything will be all right with that 
woman . " 

There was still no news from behind the closed door. At 5:1*0 AM 
the train entered the Ralia Tunnel. In twenty minutes we would be in 

While the Express thundered through the tunnel it seemed to me 
that I heard a child crying in the compartment. I looked at the other 
people's faces. No one reacted. I was probably imagining things. 
Suddenly the bright sunny light flashed back again through the windows. 
We emerged from the tunnel and at that very same moment the door of 
the compartment was opened. The doctor, in his pajamas, with sleeves 
rolled, came out, pale, with beads of sweat on his forehead, gently 
closed the door behind him and looked at me sternly. My heart sank. 
Then his look changed into a faint smile. "Congratulations. It is 
a boy!" said he. "Give me a cigarette, please." 

I repeated the news in three languages to the assembled group of 
passengers. There were cheers and applause. I gave the doctor a 
cigarette and lighted it for him. His hands were shaking. While he 
smoked I finally managed to explain everything that I was not the 
father of the baby, that I met the mother only about ten minutes before 
he was summoned. 

This little story of my predicament made him happy; he laughed and 
joked. Then the lady who assisted him called him back to the compart 
ment. The Express meanwhile was already entering the Belgrade station. 


The door opened again and the doctor called me in. A wave of com 
passion swept over me when I saw that beautiful mother holding a little 
bundle close to her bosom. She smiled at me. I was happy. I came to 
her and congratulated her on the newborn child. A boy I 

The train pulled to a gentle stop. 
The Epilogue 

I was relieved to see the ambulance attendants with a stretcher, 
nurse and a doctor on the platform. Husky ambulance attendants climbed 
into the carriage and with the doctor and nurse carefully carried their 
precious cargo out of the railroad carriage and down the steps and then 
gently lowered mother and child on to the stretcher. Soon I heard the 
ambulance siren. They took my Orient Express acquaintance and child to 
the hospital. 

I thought this was a happy ending to a romantic story. 
I went home before going to the office with the report of accident, 
about which I forgot completely. When changing my clothes, I discovered 
in my pocket the passport and money which the young mother left with 
me. So this was not yet the end of the story. I started calling all 
the hospitals in Belgrade inquiring about the lady to whom a child 
was born on the Orient Express. Finally my fourth call was successful. 
"Yes, yes," a receptionist's voice answered over the phone. "The 
lady is here." 

At noontime I bought a bouquet of flowers, jumped into a taxi and 
went to the hospital. 

I found the young mother already completely recovered and happy. 
The child was in a little bassinet next to her. The doctor was there 


he also brought her a huge bouquet of red roses. 

I returned her passport and money to her, conveyed to her the 
suggestion of the conductor to name her son after Ralia Tunnel in 
which he was born. She said that she would pass on that suggestion 
to her husband. 

I was very busy during the next few days in my office and when 
finally after ten days I called the hospital to inquire about the 
Orient Express lady they told me that she had left the hospital and that 
both she and the child were in perfect health. 

I was very touched by this event, but for a long time after I 
carefully avoided ladies' companionship on trains. 

Alexander Pavlovic 



In 1927 the time had come for our family to move to Belgrade. 
Already I had a little money set aside to rent an apartment. It 
was a little one, not very glamorous, but still it was an apart 
ment where initially our family c6uld settle down. The main 
thing was that it was close to the streetca.v line so that one 
could go by streetcar everywhere in Belgrade. I didn't have 
enough money to send at that time, but the real problem was in 
getting a Yugoslav visa. After the first wave of Russian emigres 
came to Yugoslavia, the country became very cautious about admit 
ting any other refugees, and to get a Yugoslav visa was a diffi 
cult task. I talked to my boss in that department where I worked, 
and he said 'Oh, there is no problem, I know very well a member 
of the skupshchina (the parliament); he is of the radical party 
which is in power, and I'll arrange that you meet him and his 
one word will be sufficient for the Foreign Minister to issue 
the visa to your family in Varna. ' 

So one day he took me to a hotel and I met that man. He 
was just a good natured peasant, proud of his peasant origin, 
but very smart and very pro-Russian. When I told him my story 
he said 'Oh, no problem, I'll see the minister of foreign affairs 
Nilchich, tomorrow, and you come tomo row afternoon and I'll let 
you know of the result of my talks with him. ' 

So, I was waiting and the next day I came again to his hotel. 
He was beaming and said 'Everything is alright; I have talked 
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to the minister himself and in my presense he gave the order to 
issue the visa to you parents and your sister. So you just go 
to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and everything will be alright. ' 

I thanked him very much; really it was a great thing for me 
at that time, for we had only those Nansen passports, on which 
it was hard to obtain any visa. People in western Europe were 
reluctant to give Russian exiles visas too freely at that time 

I went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, found the depart 
ment dealing with approval of visas for foreigners and then told 
the employee my name. He said, 'Wait a second, I believe I re 
call that name. ' He looked through some papers and said, 'Here 
it is, yes!' He read that it was written in the minister's 
hand ' I permit a visa to Paul Albov and his wife and daughter to 
come to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.' He said "This is it. The 
visa for your parents and sister is granted. Now, we will send 
that immediately to the consul general in Varna, or if you want 
to spend the money we can wire it. 1 I said 'Please, do it; 
I will pay. ' I for my part sent a wire to my parents, telling 
them they should go to the consulate and get their visas. So 
that was settled; the day was set for thei: departure, and since 
I had a free pass I decided to go to meet them at the Yugoslav- 
Bulgarian border, at a place called Tsaribrod. I went there and 
was waiting impatiently for the t.vain which came from Bulgaria, 
and then I saw my parents and my sister; I joined them in their 

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third class compartment with hard benches, but it was alright. 
Again the family was together. 

In Belgrade I had some friends, two brothers, former fliers 
of the Russian White Army air force. They were both taxi 
drivers, so I arranged that one of them would bring a car to the 
railroad station, without charging anything, and would take my 
parents and me to our new home. So they came and our life to 
gether in Belgrade began. 

As I had expected, my mother got a job very soon with the 
Russian kindergarten in Belgrade, and my sister Tania got a job 
with the railroad administration. because when I told my boss that 
my sister was coming, and that she knew English and Russian typ 
ing, he said 'Oh, we need office help. 1 So she got a job in the 
same office with me, which was wonderful; we were going together 
to the job. So there were three breadwinners, and that helped 
us in improving our living conditions a little bit. From that 
first poor apartment in which we started we managed to move to 
a little bit better one, and then again to another, so we were 
gradually improving our life. 

Later on, Tania got a job with a British company, the Royal 
Exchange Assurance Company. A friend of ours who worked there 
got a job with the American Embassy and Tania was able to take 
her position. It was better paid than what she had with the 
railroad administration and she could finally use her English. 

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Through Tania I became acquainted with British people in 
Belgrade: with her boss, Pierce, who was married to a Russian 
girl; and with Macilbeck, the head of the company all people 
who later on played a role in my destiny and Tania 1 s too. 
Through them we met other Englishmen, and finally Tania met 
Terence Atherton, the correspondant of the London JDaily, JMlail^ in 
Belgrade. He had managed to organize an English language news 
paper for Yugoslavia, the South .Slav_Heral r d., and he was in des- 
pe-ate need of a bilingual typist. Somebody suggested Tania to 
him, so Tania became his secretary and that job was even better 
paid than the one she had had with the Royal Assurance Company, 
so that was how events ware going on at that time. 

One day Tania told me that Terence Atherton would like to 
talk to me. He had heard about me and my wo::k with the railroad 
administration and he wanted my advice; he didn't speak any 
Serbian and he needed somebody who could. So I went to see him, 
and he apparently was impressed with my knowledge actually I 
knew the political situation in the Balkans quite well so he 
saw that I might be a good source for his work as a correspond 
ent for the Daily_MaiJL on the one hand, and on the other that I 
might be a help to him in his struggle with the English language 
newspape , the South^Slav^Heral^d. So he offered me a job. 

'Well,' I told him, 'listen, I have a good job, and mo eover 
I have a free railroad pass, a 2nd class pass everywhere. ' He 











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said 'Alright, how much do you get? 1 I told him 1500 dinars. 
He said 'Alright, suppose I offer you double what you are getting? 1 
I said 'Well, still it is the railroad pass that is very attrac 
tive. ' 'Well, ' he said, ' suppose I tell you that you will be 
having a railroad pass of the first class?' 'How?' I said. 

He said 'Very simple. As the editor of a newspaper I am 
entitled to a railroad pass on which I enter the names of three 
of my collaborators. You will be my assistant, and your name 
will therefore be on that pass. So, you will not lose anything. ' 

The temptation was very great, so I resigned my position 
with the Yugoslav government office and moved to his job. It 
was already 1932. 

Meanwhile, father's health had worsened since the time he 
came to Belgrade, and in 1927, shortly after my parents came, 
Belgrade was shaken by a big earthquake. After that he had his 
first stroke. It was a terrible thing. He recovered a little 
but then a series of other strokes followed, and he ended up al 
most a total invalid, totally disabled; lying in bed all the time, 
with mother bringing ice to keep his head cool. The trouble was 
this: he had extremely high blood pressure, and at that time 
there was no medication against it, so there was no hope. They 
tried to bleed him, but it didn't help. The last thing he en 
joyed very much was the news about Lindbergh's flight across the 
Atlantic and safe landing in Paris. He was enchanted at that 


' - .. 





news and that was probably the last event that he remembered. 

Soon after that, in 1928, he passed away and was buried in Belgrade. 

Chapter 39 Scenario 6* 

Finally, in the 1930 's, our family moved into an era of 
relative prosperity. We had enough money not only to pay the 
rent in a nice apartment, but could buy decent clothing, and 
could even afford domestic help, a wonderful Russian woman called 
Lusha. She was one of two servants brought into exile from 
Russia by the family of Prince Galitzin. It was hard for the 
Galitzins to keep the two women so they were glad when we offered 
a job to Lusha. Her arrival was a blessing since she relieved 
mother of her household chores. Lusha became a servant and al 
most a part of our family. She was illiterate so my mother, 
taught her how to read and write and Lusha was enchanted. She 
was a faithful person, sharing with us all events that happened 
to us, good and bad. She was devoted to us, and even after I 
came to the United States and got married, my wife and I managed 
to bring her here? she helped with the household and took care 
of our son, and it was a sad moment when she died in 1960 and 
was buried here, in Monterey. 

My work with Terence Atherton, in the office of his news 
paper, the SjOUTH_SLAV_HERALD, was most interesting and rewarding. 
Atherton gave me the title of business manager of the paper and 

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assistant editor, and I was charged primarily with responsibility 
in the advertising part of our activities, which was an essential 
source of income for our paper. The paper was also supported by 
the Yugoslav government. 

Shortly after joining the HERALD I conceived the idea of 
creating an English language newspaper not only for Yugoslavia, 
but for all the Balkan countries, particularly for the countries 
of the so-called Balkan pact, which included Yugoslavia, Greece, 
Turkey and Romania. I made a draft letter addressed to the 
foreign ministers of these countries in which we asked the coun 
tries of the Balkan pact to subsidize our paper. Atherton and I 
attended one of the meetings of the Balkan pact foreign ministers 
and succeeded in selling this idea to them. Thus the new English 
language newspaper entitled BALKAN ^HE RA LD was born. The head 
office remained in Belgrade where we continued to publish the 
SOUTH SLAV HERALD, but the BALKAN^HERALD was published in a spe 
cial edition for each country. Later, we included the two other 
countries which were not members of the Balkan pact, Bulgaria 
and Albania, making special editions for them too, f o . appropriate 
remuneration of course. 

All these countries were anxious to present to the English 
speaking world a new image of the Balkans and were willing to pay 
us considerable subsidies for our paper. As a business manager 
I was collecting these subsidies from the ambassadors of all 



r r A 

39 L JOf iTlOD \ 


Balkan countries residing in Belgrade. I made some very impor 
tant and valuable contacts with their foreign offices and knew 
personally the foreign ministers of all the Balkan countries. 

The publication of BALKAN . jjERALD opened tremendous adver 
tising opportunities, particularly in countries like Greece and 
Romania, which were anxious to get American and British tourists 
to their countries. We established branch offices in all the 
Balkan capitals and I visited them at least once every month. 
In Athens our representative was a certain Mr. Mavromikhalis, a 
member of an aristocratic Greek family, a bachelor, with very 
good connections in the commercial circles; through him I got 
the best advertising contracts in Greece. In Bulgaria, in Sofia, 
our representative was a British fellow, Tweedie. He was quite 
an interesting character; he was a former officer of the British 
army in India. Unfortunately he had spells of drunken stupor. 
Once he called us and said that he needed me to come to Sofia 
to discuss certain advertising matters with him. I went to Sofia, 
he invited me to lunch, together with his girlfriend, a Bulgarian 
woman, and I noticed that he looked somehow absent minded. I 
couldn't complete that business that he had said was so urgent 
and he couldn't explain much to me. So being a little disap 
pointed I returned to Belgrade and told Atherton that there was 
something strange in the behavior of Mr. Tweedie. Can you under 
stand our surprise when about five or six days later we got ns-flst 


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another telephone call from Tweedie in which he said 'What hap 
pened, why didn't Albov come to see me? 1 And then we realized 
that actually he was completely out, while acting automatically, 
as host to me. It was too bad, but fortunately this kind of 
drinking spree didn't occur too ofter to him, but when it hit 
him he was out for about a week or so. 

In Turkey we had in Istanbul a very charming lady of Greek 
descent, very businesslike, and she helped me a lot with my ad 
vertising contacts, and also she helped me in taking me around 
Istanbul. That's when I learned a lot about Istanbul, seeing it 
for the second time after my first visit to it, under quite dif 
ferent circumstances when we had fled from Russia and I was a 
young wounded officer in Constantinople. 

I travelled extensively, and there were no difficulties in 
travel, nor in hotel accomodations, because the best hotels, the 
steamships, and the airlines were anxious to advertise in the 
JBAJjKj\N_HERALD. Because of the monetary restrictions they could 
n't pay the full amount of cost of advertisement in the HERALD in 
British pounds. So we made an arrangement that part of the money 
owed by them would be used in hotel accomodations, for free pas 
sage on boats, or steamship lines, or on air lines. And since 
only the best, most elegant hotels were advertising in the BALKAN 
HERALD, because they were intended for the American and British 
tourists, wherever I went I stayed in the best accomodations 

i&t -jrsdd 


- : 











"' : /9'X0fi' ' 



without paying a single penny because it was all a part of their 
accomodations which they owed to us for their advertising. It 
was like a fairy tale. 

One of the most interesting examples was the hotel Grand 
Bretagne, in Athens, for which we had a good advertisement going 
continuously in our paper. They owed us lots of money in accom- 
odation, and according to our advertising contract if accomoda- 
tion was not used by the end of December it was wiped out and a 
new account started with the 1st of January. So one day it hap 
pened that I went on business to Greece, and it was in November. 
I finished my business in two or three days, staying of course 
in a special suite in the Grand Bretagne. Before going to Greece 
I had been advised by Atherton that was lots of money left 
and that I had better use this money. Well, I called Atherton 
after staying there three days and said 'Well, the account is 
still very large; perhaps he would be coming?' He said 'No, ' 
he would not be coming before the end of the year, and nobody 
was going to come from London, so I had better use the whole 
amount of money in any way I could see fit. 

Well, Mavromihailis and I were quite prepared for this sort 
of thing. First of all we invited all of our friends in Greece, 
our business contacts, and quite a few charming ladies, to a big 
banquet in the Grand Bretagne dining hall. French champagne 
flowed like water. After that we went nightclubbing and he and 

sq : 







- .' ' 


I visited all the hot spots of Athens, which were quite inter 
esting places, and told the extablishments to send the bills to 
the Grand Bretagne, which they did. The next morning, with my 
heavy head at that time we didn't know of Alka Seltzer I 
went down to the accounting office of the hotel to figure out 
how much was left and there was still some money left. Well, I 
already had my sleeping car acoomodations for the night, so I 
didn't know what to do. And then the idea came upon me? I went 
shopping, I bought the best silk shirts for myself and for 
Atherton. Greece was renowned for its excellent leather goods, 
so I bought sets of magnificent suitcases for myself and for 
Atherton; silk pajamas and so forth, ties, and finally, loaded 
with all that, again I told them, 'send the bills to the Grand 
Bretagne, ' and by 5 oclock in the evening I went again to the 
accounting office. Now I had managed to bring the account to 
practically zero, and with light heart, but still heavy head after 
sll this nightclubbing, boarded the Orient Express and went back 
to Belgrade. 

Atherton was quite pleased with that decision to buy goods. 
He liked the stuff that I brought him, and he didn't mind that 
I had bought certain things for myself. This was an expense 
account at its best; such an opportunity rarely happens nowadays 
anywhere in the world. 

Social life in Belgrade was very active. We had many 


00 S.10 







' ' 

-' - 


friends, and the circle of our friends widened so that in addition 
to our Russian friends we became acquainted with quite a few 
British and Americans living in Belgrade. My sister and I joined 
jhe Yugoslav Anglo-American club, and that involved some social 
activities. Finally we reached the point where so many people 
were calling on us that we had to establish what in the good old 
times was called a jour fixe, that is a day when we were at home; 
that was a weekly event on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays people knew 
that they could crop in and that they would be fed, offered 
drinks, etc. That was a wonderful time. Lusha was preparing 
her goodies in abundance and we had quite a crowd all the time 
on these Albov Tuesdays. We were constantly being invited to 
dances, celebrations, and New Year's Eves Yugoslavia being 
both an Orthodox and Catholic country they celebrated everything 
twice; there were two Cristmasses and two New Years, so we really 
had quite a wonderful time, and it was time between the two world 
wars which was a nice time, in spite of the terrible depression 
that hit western Europe; it was not very noticeable in the Balkans. 
I am Deferring to the years between 1932 and 1939. We were still 
Charles toning at that time; new dances were appearing all new 
-ances were coming to us from the United States. We went to all 
the American movies, which practically cominated the screen at 
that time. I remember the first talking movie, with Al Jolson 
and so forth. So the life was nice and interesting. 








; '-"! 



My travels at this time were both interesting and adventure 
some. For instance, I will never forget one of my journies to 
Bucharest. One of our best advertisers there was a man we called 
the King of Romanian Caviar. He was a man of very humble ovigin, 
half Russian and half Romanian. He spoke Russian and was married 
to a Russian woman- He was always advertising the delicious 
Romanian caviar. I liked to visit Bucharest because whenever I 
was there he would invite me and offer me a drink and then some 
of the best of his cavia; spread on warm buns. So one day, 
Atherton told me, 'You know, you have to show to our Bucharest 
friend our appreciation; why don't you invite him to luncheon 
or dinner in the best restaurant in Bucharest?' So I invited 
him and his wife to lunch in one of the best places in Bucharest. 
He was so pleased at that, it was kind of pathetic; being a man 
of humble origin, to him it was a great honor that a representa 
tive of an English newspaper had invited him. So he told me 
'Alright, I appreciate your invitation and your treating me so 
nicely; now I would like to invite you to be my guest: I am 
going to entertain you in the Romanian way. of all he 
asked 'Do you like fish?' I said 'Yes.' He said 'I will send 
my fish and my caviar to the best Romanian restaurant that I 
know here in Bucharest, and we are going to have dinner there, 
and after that we are going to a nightclub and I will show you 
the best nightclub entertainment in Bucharest. ' And so we went 
first to that dinner it was a stag affair, by the way and 

d;r ;>afi 





. , 3 






: ' 





.' . 



My travels at this time were both interesting and adventure 
some. For instance, I will never forget one of my journies to 
Bucharest. One of our best advertisers there was a man we called 
the King of Romanian Caviar. He was a man of very humble ovigin, 
half Russian and half Romanian. He spoke Russian and was married 
to a Russian woman. He was always advertising the delicious 
Romanian caviar. I liked to visit Bucharest because whenever I 
was there he would invite me and offer me a drink and then some 
of the best of his caviar, spread on warm buns. So one day, 
Atherton told me, 'You know, you have to show to our Bucharest 
friend our appreciation; why don't you invite him to luncheon 
or dinner in the best restaurant in Bucharest?' So I invited 
him and his wife to lunch in one of the best places in Bucharest. 
He was so pleased at that, it was kind of pathetic; being a man 
of humble origin, to him it was a great honor that a representa 
tive of an English newspaper, had invited him. So he told me 

'Alright, I appreciate your invitation and your treating me so 
nicely; now I would like to invite you to be my, guest: I am 
going to entertain you in the Romanian way. Fi st of all he 
asked 'Do you like fish?' I said 'Yes.' He said 'I will send 
my fish and my caviar to the best Romanian restaurant that I 
know here in Bucharest, and we are going to have dinner there, 
and after that we are going to a nightclub and I will show you 

the best nightclub entertainment in Bucharest. ' And so we went 
first to that dinner it was a stag affair, by the way and 





.. . . 









' ' 








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really, it was magnificent. We were eating caviar by the spoon 
ful, and then the deliciously prepared fish, and drinking lots 
of the local alcoholic beverage called chialka. Well after this 
chulka I really felt quite fine and then he said 'Well, it's 
time to go now to a nightclub, ' and we went to the most luxurious 
nightclub in Bucharest. And then certain things started to happen. 
Of course the table was waiting for us; I saw how the waiters 
were bowing before him because he was a big moneyed man, well 
known in Bucharest; and there were quite a few nice people, 
Romanian officers, some artists from opera. Again it was a pure 
stag party. We switched to French champaigne, and then the floor 
show started. At one point the trumpets were sounding and two 
young girls, very scantily dressed, appeared. One of them was 
really beautiful, but they were very young, probably between 16 
and 18 years old, and they danced very provocative dances, wearing 
something like a hussars uniform with very short panties. Well, 
ny friend looked at me and asked 'How do you like this perform- 
mce?' I said 'I like it very much. I particular ly like that 
'ounger one; look how beautiful she is.' 'Oh,' he said, 'you 
ike her? 1 I said, 'She is a very attractive girl.' We continued 
o d. ink our champaigne, watching the performance of other girls 
n the floor. 






Chapter 40 Scenario VI 

Well some time passed and the headwaiter approached our 
table, came to me, and said 'Monseur Albov? You are called on 
the phone. ' Being a newspaperman, I was always leaving my phone 
number to the places where I went, although not realizing that I 
had never left the telephone number of this night club, I took 
it as a matter of routine and we went after him. He said/ 'We 
have to go upstairs to the telephone. ' We went upstairs, down 
the hallway, and we came to a door and a rather frivolous 
grand finale of the whole affair. He opened the door and I 
couldn't believe my eyes. There was a beautifully furnished 
room, with a table at which there was caviar and a bucket with a 
bottle of champaigne, and the girl whom I had watched at 
the show and expressed the opinion that she was very beautiful. 
She was indeed beautiful, but here she appeared like Eve, dressed 
in nothing but her beauty and slippers. I was of course a little 
bit shocked; then I found a calling card of my friend on the 
table, which said "Please accept this gift from me". Well, that's 
the little frivolous story of the time. Remember, the '.30's were 
still like the roaring '20's so that was the "gift", Bucharest- 
style, which of course I had to accept] 






!/$ on 





As I said before, it is next to impossible to restore in 
chronological sequence all of the events that took place in the 
1930 's because it was a long time ago. So I am rather going to 
tell the events as they come back to mind. 

As I said, I travelled extensively. One of the trips took 
me to the Near East, to Egypt and to Palestine. I took a steam 
ship, of the Yugoslav Lloyd Company, and because of this adver 
tising arrangement we had to use free accomodations, I got a 
I wonderful suite on that ship, was an honored guest at the cap 
tain's table, and had a good time travelling from Split in 
Yugoslavia to Alexandria in Egypt. The trip took about 3 days. 
It was a very interesting life on a luxury liner: you got up 
early, they served you breakfast in bed; then you dressed casu 
ally, in sports jacket and slacks, and walked around; then about 
11 oclock a member of the crew goes around and serves hot bouil 
lon; then around noontime you go and change, then come for cock 
tails, and go down to lunch. Of course this was first class. 
Then in the afternoon I took a seat in a chair covered with a 
blanket and was reading, then walking around until around 4 oclock 
afternoon tea was served; then everybody would go to change for 
the big evening galas. Every night something was going on on 
the liner; formal dress was a must of course. Usually we had 
codktails. The last night was the captain's night; all drinks 
were free, that is offered by the captain. There were lots of 






2 A 







games and dancing; it was interesting; I still remember what a 
pleasant feeling it is to dance on a slightly rocking ship, un 
der the beautiful sky of the Mediterranean. There were many 
attractive lady passengers. 

My destination was Alexandria, then a friend of mine, whom 
we had entertained once in Belgrade, who was of the same 
Izmailovskii regiment to which I belonged. He was a well-to-do 
man, he had some means, and he lived with his wife, had two 
sons and a daughter. Since he stayed during his visit to 
Belgrade with us in our apartment, he of course invited me when 
I came to Alexandria to stay with him. So he met me when the 
ship came into port, took me to their house, where they had 
quite a few servants, treated me to a sumptuous dinner, then 
took me around Alexandria. They lived in Ramlei, several miles 
north of Alexandria. I must say that the climate in Alexandria 
was terrible; it was awfully muggy and hot. Therefore it was 
dangerous to overindulge in any drinking, and I am afraid that 
the first night I miscalculated my resistance power. I didn't 
feel well at all next morning when my host took me around to see 
various palaces and other points of interest in Alexandria. 

Well, I had some business to attend to for the BALKAN J3ERAIJ), 
I contacted some tourist offices and so forth; however tny main 
destination was Cai.vo. It was decided that a friend of this 
friend of mine named Alexis von Bretzell, who had a car, would 

CF-C5'' ' 


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drive me from Alexandria to Cairo. 

The road ran through the Sahara Desert, a straight line 
from point to point, from Alexandria to the Pyramids, which were 
close to Cairo. We had a very nice ride in his car, over a 
stretch of about 125 miles, but awfully monotonous. There was 
only one stop in the middle, with gas stations and a repair shop 
with mechanics available and so forth. So we stopped there, got 
gas and water, rested a little and got cool drinks and then re 
sumed our drive toward Cairo. I asked him at what point we were 
going to see the pyramids, and he said 'I will tell you. ' I 
said 'Well what if I see them before?' to which he replied 'If 

you see them before me, then I'll buy you a bottle of gin!' And 

&ul lfa~~ r^*^ 
can you imagine that ^P^-^y-* T detected since he was driving 

and was careful not to fall asleep on that monotonous road. 
Well suddenly I saw the triangular shape on the horizon, and I 
said 'Stop, is that the pyramids?' He said 'Yes it is, so I owe 
you a bottle of gin! ' So when we arrived in Cairo he bought me 
a bottle of gin, which we tried out immediately after I settled 
down in a hotel. 

Unfortunately the famous Shepherds Hotel wasn't yet open at 
that time; it opened only the 1st of November, and my trip was 
around October 1st, and it was beastly hot. So I settled in 
another hotel, and he stayed with some friends of his. As soon 
as I was settled, we decided to go to see the pyramids, and it 






' - 






was a magnificent sight. As was customary, I took a ride on a 
camel, and on that camel trotted all the way down to the Sphinx. 
Then we went to the Manor House Hotel, which is not far away 

from the pyramid of Gizeh, and had drinks there. Another time, 


after a good dinner with my Business friends in Cairo one night, 

we decided to go see the pyramids under moonlight. It was a 
magnificent picture. I'll never forget those beautiful pyra 
mids, and thinking how many centuries they were standing there, 
and who else in history had seen them Napoleon, and the great 
kings of the old Egyptian Empire. 

I wanted very much to go to the Holy Land. Before going on 
that trip I saw the head of the Russian church in exile, the 
Metropolitan Anastasii, who, as I've related, was a good friend 
of my family, who had helped me in Constantinople after we es 
caped from Russia, and was really helpful in every respect. Ao 
when I told him that I was going to Jerusalem he said 'Alright, 
I'll give you a letter to the priest in charge of the Russian 
mission there, asking him to provide you with accomodation and 
a guide through the Holy places. You can see everything there; 
pay your respects to the Holy places.' 




Chapter 42, Scenario VI 

My success in the advertising campaign and particularly my 
knowledge of the Balkan area and the situation in the Kingdom 
of Yugoslavia became known to the circle of British and American 
newspapermen, who ofter asked my advice. However, I owed first 
loyalty to Atherton, who was very jealous that I wouldn't divulge 
anything to other agencies that wouldn't go first to the Daily ft 
Ma il . However, he permitted me to inform other agencies of hot 
stories one day after he had used them for the Daily Mail. 

, <* 

The Daily Mail in addition to the London edition had a 
Paris edition called the Con t inen tajl ^Daily _ JVIa i 1 , something simi 
lar to the Paris edition of the New York .Herald. Tribune. One 
day Atherton called me and said he would like to have me go with 
him to a certain railroad station to meet the Orient Express on 
which the big boss of the Daily Mail was coming from London on 
his way to the Near East. It was the famous Ward Price, a very 
well known figure on Fleet Street. So we waited for the arrival 
of the Orient Express, boarded it, found Ward Price, and had 
dinner with him on the train until it arrived in Belgrade, where 
upon we said goodbye; he continued south, and we went to our 

Shortly after that Atherton called me and said "The assist 
ant editor and advertising manager of the Parisian edition of 


' ' ' 




v t - 










. . 




the Con t inen t a 1 Dai ly Ma il is going to visit us and he would 
like to meet you. ' 

Well, I was very much flattered and he said 'I think that 
he is going to offer you some connection with the Continental 
Daily Mail. ' I was very pleased/ and one day that man, a Mr. 
Luntley, came down. Atherton and I took him around, and the 
three of us ended up at the park called Kalymedlon, where there 
was a zoo. The Belgrade Zoo was very unique because the ani 
mals were not in cages but in big open ravines, separated from 
the public by walls. Trying to take a picture, Luntley stepped 
over the wall overlooking the place where the lions were, and 
while trying to focus his camera he stumbled and almost fell 
into the lions 'den. We grabbed him and pulled him away just in 
time. He was pale and shaking, but I was laughing. 

'Why are you laughing?' he said. 

'You know, ' I told him, 'I was thinking what a unique story 
we have just missed unique from every journalistic point 
'A visiting newspaperman fell into a lions den in Belgrade and 
was eaten. ' In these dull times, that would be the greatest 
sensation in the world. ' 

'You have certainly developed a newspaperman's sense of 
humor, ' he said; but he was pleased. And then he was leaving 
that night in the afternoon he called and said, 'I would like 
to propose that you work fca the Continental Daily Mail. 











: ' 







'HlJxJLiSL . '3Oi< 




I learned of you from Atherton and have seen your advertising 
in the B^lkan^Herald. We don't have anyone who could do the 
job here who knows the local situation as well as you. Would 
you mind taking over the job? I'll make you advertising manager 
for the ^ntinental_Daily_JMail for all the Balkans and the Middle 
East. On the side you can also send us news. 

'As far as news is concerned, ' I said, 'you had better talk 
to Atherton, because that is his exclusive. ' 

'Well, ' he said, 'alright, but as soon as I get back to 
Paris I'll send him an identity card authorizing you to be our 
representative. ' 

I made an agreement with Atherton. I could keep 20% of 
the advertising income, but since I was using facilities of 
Atherton 's 13 a Ik a n M He r a Id office and I was a paid employee of 
his, I told him that I would share that sum with him. 

It became even easier for me to get advertising for the 
Daily__Mail than for the Balkan ^Herald because certain companies 
were very much interested in the very prestigious British news 
paper. For example I got a half page advertisement from Slovenia 
advertising the summer and winter resort Bled, and others covered 
the same area of advertising of hotels, steamship companies, etc. 

So that is how I joined the family of the continental edi 
tion of the Daily._Mail. 






1 . 1 ; : 



: :,;->. . 

: .: 



. : 




Our office was located in the center of the city, in the 
so-called Kattar building on the corner of the main street. 
Some interesting people visited there. For instance, Somerset 
Maugham spent about five days in Belgrade and used to come to our 
office every day. He was a strange man. He would say hello and 
then go directly to the book shelves we had plenty of books 
there and without removing his slouch hat would pick up a 
book and read, sometimes making some short remark to Atherton, 
or asking some questions about Yugoslavia. 

At the same time I continued my fencing; it was before the 
1936 Olympics in Berlin and the fencing group was there, organ 
ized by a certain Russian Prince Maksutov. I exercised in that 
group with him and helped him take care of his students. One 
day, at his request, I undertook to train a man who would be on 
the Yugoslav fencing team going to the Berlin Olympics, fencing 
with him and teaching him all the tricks I knew. 

In the meantime, the political situation in Europe was de 
teriorating. Various forces in southeastern Europe hated Yugoslavia. 
First of all there were extreme separatist Croats, fanatics who 
hated Alexander because they wanted a separate Croat state. There 
was a very dangerous group of Macedonians who were not happy being 
under Yugoslav rule, who also dreamed of some kind of independent 
Macedonia, and they were suppos: ted in their design by Bulgarians. 
And there were Hungarians who still aspired to some territories 













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occupied by Yugoslavia; because, don't forget, Yugoslavia was 
created after World War I at the expense of certain countries 
who were defeated. These forces of hatred against Yugoslavia 
combined and planned the assassination of King Alexander, who 
was a united symbol of the Yugoslavs. They selected a time when 
the King went to France. He went to Marseille on a Yugoslav 
destroyer and was riding with the French foreign minister, when 
he was assassinated by a man who jumped on the running board of 
the car and pumped from an automatic pistol, killing Alexander 
and the French minister and wounding the driver. Since it hap 
pened at a fime while movies were being taken, the whole thing 
was recorded in film. 

Atherton had excellent connections all around the world 
with his Daily Mail friends and the first news about the assas 
sination which reached Belgrade was not from the Yugoslav govern 
ment, which would have had to go through the Yugoslav consular 
authorities and so forth; but we got a wire directly from the 
Daily Mail correspondent there, who said that the attempt had 
been made on the King; so we were the first to get that news. 
Atherton immediately asked me to call the press section of the 
Foreign Ministry, and when I told them they said 'Don't talk 
nonsense, we have no official communique. We will check that 
right now,' so they didn't know. Within an hour or so, of course, 
they received the news. 



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It was a terrible time. Command of the state was taken over 
by a regency, headed by Prince Paul, cousin of King Alexander, 

and his wife Princess Olga. The sister of Princess Olga was 

Marina, who married the Duke of Kent. The regency in Yugoslavia 
was established because King Peter was still a boy of fifteen 
years of age. 

~t -. nd 
After the assassination, Prince Paul was inaccessible to 

newspapermen. The country was in shock; there were fears of an 
uprising of Croats, but the country survived. 

Sometime about then Ataturk, the great Turk, also died, and 
the clouds over Europe were getting darker and darker with the 
rise of Adolf Hitler. 

I managed to visit Berlin twice, once before Hitler came to 
power, and once shortly before the war. It certainly was a great 
change. The earlier Berlin, which had been such a pleasant, gay, 
frivolous city became dull, full of martial music and marching 
troops, after Hitler came to power. 

I visited my uncle and aunt, who lived in Berlin and spent 
Christmas with them. Once Tania went to Berlin to visit them, 
and came back loaded with beautiful dresses, made by Aunt Lika's 
mode salon, which employed 14 girls and served mostly the ladies 
of the diplomatic corps of Berlin. 


tened carefully and then said, 'Well, there is a simple way to 
speed it up. Give a bribe to the man in charge of your account. ' 
I said 'What? A bribe? 1 And he said 'Yes, just offer him a 
bribe, and you'll get your money.' 'How could it be possible?' 
I said. 'He occupies a position almost equivalent to deputy 
foreign minister.' 'So what?' he said, 'They take bribes, and 
that is probably the reason they are delaying payment of the sum 
due to you, expecting someone to come up with a little bribe. ' 

I was very reluctant, but he said "Don't you worry; only 
find a nice way to do that. I leave that up to you, to your dip 
lomatic skill." 

So I made an appointment with that fellow whose name was 
Anastasiu. To get to him was almost like getting to the late 
Tsar of Russia, there we e so many secretaries, officers and so 
forth. Finally they told me that I would get an appointment on 
a certain date and at a certain hour. 

The day came, and he received me very kindly. Then I told 
him 'You know that we are very much concerned about payments due 
to our Bajlkan .^Herald,. It is an obligation that was taken by 
your government, signed by your foreign minister Mr. Dofenku, 
and the existence of the paper depends on these payments.' 

'Oh, 1 he said, 'you know, Mr. AlBov, we have some diffi 
culties. We are very much involved now in our propaganda acti 
vities about Hungary as you know Hungary and we are in op 
posite camps; they claim certain areas that we possess sows 



have to concentrate all ou 1 efforts there. ' 

My mind was working like a clock. I decided this was the 
topic. I said 'Mr. Anastasiu, I understand you; I understand 
your position, however we still need the money. I am authorized 
by my editor, Terence Atherton, to make you an offer. We will 
give 10% of the amount of money due to us to you to carry on 
your activities directed toward Hungary. I am authorized to 
give you a check for that amount, and as I know that it is a 
very touchy subject, I will give that check personally to you 
so that you can use it at your discretion, and then you can pay 
the balance due to us from the payments due. ' 

He suddenly changed. 'Oh that's fine,' he said. 'I will 
see that you get the payments within a very short time. ' So I 
gave him a check amounting to 10% of the amount due to us, a 
personal check mind you, so he would not be accountable to any 
one, and that was that. Shortly after my return to Belgrade, we 
received a call and we got our money in full; however, the check 
came out of our Ba Ikan _He r a 1 d fund. 

It was an interesting example of how some of the Balkan 
governments were working. 

Chapter 44 Scenario VI (Cont'd) 

But the time for the easy life was running out, and the 
clouds over Europe were getting darker and darker. It is not 
my intention to go deeply into that period, the second half of 
the 1930 's, as the history of that time is well documented. I 
just want to state that the creation of Nazi Germany in the cen 
ter of Europe, the formation of the Axis, the ever existing 
threat of the Soviet Union, and the gathering forces of the anti- 
Nazi coalition of England and France, all had their effect on 
smaller nations, and because of Yugoslavia's position it soon 
became an arena of great political movements and intrigues. A 
map of Europe will show that Yugoslavia occupies a very impor 
tant position. Germany would have to go through Yugoslavia if 
it sought an access to the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. 
Italy had always had ambitions pertaining to the Adriatic Sea 
and Albania, and the British were always afraid of any other 
power getting a foothold in the Mediterranean Basin. Yugoslavia 
was at the crossroads of all these conflicting interests, and 
therefore with the approaching storm everyone concentrated on 
Yugoslavia, which was under terrific pressure from all sides. 
Germany asked prince Regent Paul and the Yugoslav government 
to subscribe to the principles of the Axis and to join the Axis 
Pact. At the same time the British were trying to influence 
some people in Yugoslavia to resist that pressure. 


The majority of Yugoslavs favored Britain and France. The 
communists, who were still outlawed, were looking toward the 
Soviet Union. There were very few pro-Germans in Yugoslavia, 
and they consisted mainly of members of the German minority. 

This situation brought a tremendous number of newspapermen 
from everywhere British, Germans, Americans, French, etc. 
Since I was working for Terence Atherton, I was constantly in 
the company of other correspondents. We were meeting at lunch 
and dinners discussing the political situation in Yugoslavia, 
and many foreign correspondents relied upon me since I knew per 
fectly the language of the country and was quite a good student 
of Yugoslavia's internal policy and its external policy; its 
relationships with other Balkan countries. So I was a kind of 
source of information for many people the New York Times^, the 
United Press, the Associated Press, etc. My prime loyalty lay 
with Atherton, but he encouraged me, once he had used it for the 
Daily Mail, to pass over information to other correspondents. 

Gradually I noticed that Atherton was trying also to bring 
me into contact with members of the British Embassy . I developed 
friendships with some of them, particularly the commercial atta 
che, who was very interested in everything that I knew, so they 
were trying to pump me for certain information that was available 
to me. 

I was also keeping contact with my Yugoslav friends, and 
like any newspaperman I always had certain informants among the 


local people. The best informants were always low level plain 
clothes policemen. 

Chapter 45 Scenario VI 

At this juncture I would like to make a little departure 
from my narrative. Some people say that old men like only to 
talk about the past. Which is probably true. There is a eason 
for that. As a matter of fact the more I talk about that state 
ment I am convinced that it is probably a biologically inherited 
ability and function needed by the human species. If we think 
of the fact that homo sapiens appeared on the earth as a thinking 
being more than half a million years ago at least, while the 
writing system appeared only five thousand years ago, it is ob 
vious that preservation of important facts, of important stories, 
and propagation of acquired knowledge and maintenance and devel 
opment of civilization all depended upon stories told by the old 
men. Therefore through many generations it became second nature 
for old men to share their experiences with the following gener 
ations; so there is nothing wrong with old men living in the past, 
as they say; it is an important function. It is easy to say now 
that I can narrate the story of my life on a tape recorder before 
w: it ing these memoirs down, but for millenia it was impossible 
and everything hinged upon the spoken word, and all traditions 
and all the knowledge gradually accumulated by humanity depended 


upon this knowledge. Can you imagine what would happen if old 
people did not talk about that? There would be no growth of 
civilization? nothing would be left. However, as we know, many 
things, many sagas; many myths from the past have been preserved 
long before humanity developed writing, where history was recorded. 
Long before Herodotus certain facts of life long past reached us 
through the narratives of old men telling thei stories around the 
fire in some kind of a cave, telling their experiences and those 
of their fathers and forefathers to wide-eyed children. I think 
it is a wonderful thing that old people have the ability and urge 
to tell about their past. And that is what I am doing now; tel- 
ing the stories of my past which contain some stories passed 
to me by my father. 

Well so much for that; we are back to that threatening 
political situation in Yugoslavia. At that time I met many 
interesting people, because as I said before, Atherton's office 
was the usual place where all English-speaking people, British 
and Americans, would drop in and become acquainted. The South 
Slav and J3a Ik an J3e r a 1 d s were the only English speaking news 
papers available on the affairs of the Balkans, so we had inter 
esting people coming to our office. Fo instance Bruce Lockhart, 
author of British Agent and other books. He was a mysterious 
character sent by the British government to Russia before the 
outbreak of the civil war during the f i st days of Bolshevism, 


because Great Britain and its foreign policy was always very 
cold and cynical and they were considering all the options. 
Already at that time they thought that the day might come when 
they would be trading with the Soviets. At that time communism 
had already showed its terrible face to the entire world, but 
Lloyd George, speaking before Parliament said 'We can even trade 
with cannibals. ' 

In the previous chapter I told how more and more I became 
involved in newsgathering activities, primarily for Atherton 
and his Daily Mail, but also for other people, and that I met 
many members of the foreign embassies. In the American Embassy 
I knew the ambassador through formal gatherings of the Anglo- 
American Yugoslav club, and also I knew well the consul general 
McAtee, and also an American girl who worked for the consul- 
general and who once was our representative in Salonika. She 
was disappointed in certain aspects of our advertising policies 
and she came to McAtee and Atherton and I had to go to McAtee 
to straighten out that situation. Then I also met the American 
military attache, Goloned Fortier, who after the outbreak of 
war later became a general and was working in the Pentagon. 

Interesting activities which I initiated in the Balkan 
Herald and which were very profitable were special editions 
devoted either to individual countries of the Balkan Pact, or 
to specific affairs. I ecommended the making of a special 


edition for Turkey in connection with a big international fair 
in Turkey. Atherton enthusiastically endorsed that end the 
Turkish ambassador of course said that he would give all help 
needed, so I again went to Istanbul and Ankara. Primarily I 
spent my time in Ankara where I was promised financial support 
by three leading banks of Turkey, the Ish bank, Sumer bank, and 
Ziran bank. Of course I had to do lots of conferring and gath 
ering materials at the foreign office. Here I had a talk with 
an elderly official of high rank. During our conversation, 
accompanied as usual by Turkish coffee and Turkish cigarettes, 
he took notes in a little pad, holding it for some eason very 
close to him. I told him of our plans for the special issue? 
he suggested certain corrections, and said they would provide 
all the necessary pictures and background info mation. So we 
completed our interview, and he asked me to wait and called his 
secretary and dictated that memo to her so that before I left I 
would have a typed copy of the resume of our talks. And here 
again when the secretary stepped in he started dictating to her 
but kept these notes very close to him. I thought first that it 
was because of eyesight, but no, it was for some other reason. 
He dictated in Turkish and asked her to have it immediately 
translated into English. And then when she left I saw that he 
tore up his notes, and as he was doing so I saw that they were 
written in Arabic script, which had been abolished under threat 


of severe penalty by Kemal Ataturk, the reformer of Turkey. The 
old man, this functionary at the foreign office, apparently had 
not learned yet to use the Latin alphabet, so to take notes in 
the fastest way he could write only arable, but he didn't want 
any evjdence of the fact that he was writing Arabic to remain, so 
he tore them up, placed them in an ashtray, burned the bits, and 
placed the ashes in the trash can. That is how afraid the old 
bureaucrats were of Kemal Ataturk and his tremendous reforms. 

In Ankara there was only one excellent European style 
restaurant, a Russian restaurant, with balalaika orchestra and 
so forth. It was a charming place known even to the present day 
by everyone who has visited Ankara, called Karpych's. Karpych 
was the name of a former White Russian who joined Kemal 's side 
during the war for liberation of Turkey, and as a reward he got 
a concession to open that restaurant. It was a most successful 
place, with fine Russian and French food, and a beautiful orches 
tra. All the diplomatic corps and newspapermen gathered there. 
I spent a couple of evenings there, became acquainted with 
Karpych, and shared reminiscences with him about the White A.vmy, 

The Ankara edition was very successful and Atherton gave 
full credit to me. But just before it was ready to go to press, 
a terrible thing happened: Kemal Ataturk died. Fortunately we 
hadn't started printing that Ankara edition, so we managed to 


quickly get from the embassy a beautiful picture of the Ataturk 
bronze mask made as a kind of monument to him during his life. 
Of course we had to change the front page, devoting it mostly to 
Ataturk and his achievements. But it was a successful issue and 
the ambassador was extremely pleased that we managed to make it 
both an Ankara edition and an edition commemorating the great 

Tu.rkish refo mer. 

" ^- 

The success of this special edition of the Balkan ^Herald 

was such that we decided to make a special edition for Poland. 
The Polish embassy was very receptive to the idea and invited 
me to Warsaw and to be guest of the Polish foreign office, 
which would help us with the special edition. 

Chapter 46 Scenario VI 

I was looking forward to the trip to Warsaw for many reas 
ons besides the interesting assignment of preparing the special 
issue. Poland was my birthplace, and there were still .relatives 
of mine living there near Warsaw. I decided that I would go to 
Lomzhaand, the town where I was born, and then after a few days 
at Warsaw move to the little estate what was left of it 
of my relatives who were living near Warsaw, at Piastu. Well it 
was all fine and dandy, but this departure took place in August 
1939, which was significant because at the end of that month, 
World War II began. But we didn't suspect that events would 


move that fast. 

I flew to Poland, stopping at Bucharest to change planes, 
and made the last part of the journey on the Polish airline Lyot. 
The Polish embassy in Belgrade had made all the arrangements for 
me in Warsaw so I went directly from the airport to the Hotel 
Bristol, which was one of the two best hotels in Warsaw (the 
other being the Europeiskii. ) 

My first mission was to go to the Foreign Ministry. There, 
I met with a young and charming gentleman who spoke perfect 
English and told me he would be at my disposal with all problems 
dealing with the special issue of the B a Ikan ^He r a 1 d , and that 
meanwhile he would entertain me the next day and show me Warsaw. 
It really was a wonderful evening? we had dinner at the Hotel 
Bristol, and then went nigh tclubb ing, visiting all the interest 
ing places. In one of them I was surprised at seeing a group 
of Polish officers who were singing Russian gypsy songs. Anyhow 
I spent most of the night in this gentleman's company seeing all 
the nightspots, and some very good floorshows. Warsaw was at 
that time a city of brilliance and gaiety, comparable to Bucharest. 
It was a western European capital, no doubt about that, 

I was very busy in Warsaw at the beginning, getting in 
touch with various government agencies which were supposed to 
provide the financial support for the special edition. In deal 
ing with the Ministry of Finance, and the tobacco monopoly and 


other government agencies which were supposed to support the 
special edition, I started to detect a fading interest in ou: 
proposal. When I enquired about this at the Foreign Ministry, 
I was told that the political situation was becoming very 
alarming. In August the so-called Ribbentrop-Stalin pact was 
signed in Moscow, and apparently some provisions of that pact 
were at the expense of Poland. Then Molotov went to Berlin 
and was received by Hitler and it was obvious that Germany and 
the Soviet Union were coming to an arrangement which brought a 
completely new perspective to the whole situation in the world. 
Great Britain and France were counting on the Soviet Union 
fighting Fascism and Nazism, because they were bitter enemies, 
but the pact showed that the two dictatorships had found common 
ground. Poland immediately realized that it was all at Polish 
expense. So the situation began to deteriorate, at first grad 
ually, and then very fast. I moved from Warsaw to the estate of 
my relatives at Piastov, and they were getting really panicky- 
They said that the situation was very grave and that a secret 
mobilization was going on and they didn't know what to do. They 
were hinting that I had better leave. 

By this time I was getting alarmed myself. Before that I 
had noticed that in all the government agencies gas masks had 
appeared on the desks of the employees. I realized that no 
negotiations were possible; people were saying that they could 
n't think of anything else except that war could start at any 


moment. So I went to the Foreign Office and saw my friend who 
was attached to me and he said 'Forget everything else; try to 
get out. I will help you to get an airline ticket, and then 
get out of Poland, because Poland may be involved in war any 
time now. ' So I went to Lyod airlines and finally managed to 
get a seat in a flight leaving Warsaw on the 29th of August 1939. 
I dashed by the electric train to Piastov to see my relatives, 
and they told me that they would come to see me at the airport, 
or rather that the wife of Klim would come, as he was busy at 
the office. So she came to the hotel, I got into the taxi, and 
we drove; but already the military were everywhere on the streets 
requisitioning automobiles, and they wanted to take our taxi. 
Fortunately, although I didn't speak Polish fluently enough, 
with Mrs. Klimm's help whe explained that I was a foreigner and 
needed to get to the airport and they let me go. 

The airport was under full military alert; the troops' 
screening of the passengers was very thorough, but finally I 
got into the plane, bidding my cousin 'goodbye. Tears were flow 
ing, falling down her cheeks, and she said 'I don't know if we 
will ever see you again. ' And as a matter of fact up to this 
day I don't know what happened to them. 

The airplane took off after considerable delay because of 
the military precautions, with every seat taken. Most of the 
passengers, I realized, were either British or French, who were 


leaving Warsaw. We were going to Warsaw, but we had to put down 
twice, at Lvov, and at Chernovicy. At Lvov the airport was al 
ready completely on the ready, the military aircraft ware stand 
ing ready for takeoff, and the crews were sitting under the air 
craft ready for battle. So we took off again and already toward 
evening stopped at Chernovic, and in the evening arrived at 
Bucharest. It was already the 30th of August. I spent the next 
day reading the news, which was very alarming. Then about 2 
oclock in the morning of September 1st, 1939, came the news that 
the Germans had bombed Warsaw; the beginning of World War II. 

At this point I switch to Scenario VII. This will cover the 
period of World War II from September 1 1939 to my arrival in the 
United States from Europe on May 18 1945. 

On September 2 I flew back to Belgrade. Everybody was very 
much upset and depressed because we knew that the blitzkrieg 
attack of the Germans on Poland was only the beginning of some 
thing very big, and immediately after this attack on Poland, 
France and England declared war on Germany. As soon as the 
Germans had conquered most of Poland, the Soviet Union moved her 
troops and conquered the remainder, so that Poland was again 

With the outbreak of war there was an immediate chane in my 
job. Atherton told me that he was closing the two newspapers 
and that therefore I was not going to work with him anymore, but 


: o?- 


he found a good position for me with the United Press. I knew 
the man at the United Press, George Kidd, a very fine gentleman. 
He and his wife stayed with us before he moved to the hotel 
Zemskii Krai which became the headquarters of all newsmen who 
were covering Belgrade politics. 

Chapter 47 Scenario VII 

Before going on I have to refer back to an event which took 
place before. Terence Atherton, my boss, told me that the chief 
European correspondent for the J^a.ily^Maj.l^ a certain Herr von 
Schimp"f, of Berlin, was going to visit in Belgrade and he asked 
me to join him in entertaining Mr. Von Schimpf. 

'Well, ' I said, 'why not arrange a dinner at our house? 
We'll prepare some Russian food for him.' 

'That would be wonderful, ' he said. 

Lusha prepared an excellent dinner, so my sister and I 
entertained. We invited some other people, including both 
Princesses Schakovskoi, and some other friends joined us there, 
so there was a very nice dinner. After dinner we had coffee and 
drinks and I was talking with von Schimpf. He was very much 
interested in my anti-communist past; how I was an officer in 
the White Army, etc., and listened with great attention. I kind 
of struck a mutual understanding on certain things. I told him 
frankly that I didn't think that Nazism, although being very 





anti-communist, was really a healthy force to be in a position 
to combat communism, but knowing that he was a German I didn't 
go too far in expressing what I thought about Hitler and the 
Nazi pary. Anyhow, we really felt very friendly toward each 
other, and before he departed he called me and invited me for 
drinks together with Atherton. We had another round of conver 
sation and he told me to stop by whenever I was inBerlin and 
gave me his address and telephone number. This event played an 
extremely important role later on. 

However, at this time I return to Scenario VII, the war 
situation. From the Balk,an JHerald I moved to the United Press. 
I was very happy, and Kidd was happy in having me join his office? 
he needed someone who knew Serbo-Croation, so I was his inter 
preter. I was reading the newspapers and getting all the ingor- 
mation and translating it for him, and he was sending his news 
by telephone to Zurich, and from there it was transmitted to 
New York. 

The competition for the fast developing news from Belgrade 
became very strong between the various agencies. Our particular 
rivals were the Associated Press and the New toc Times . The 

Associated Press correspondent was a very amiable man named 

O' Sullivan. He drank a little too much and sometimes got plas 

tered by night time. The New_Yqrk Times was fo* a time repre- 

s r xi 



> p. ~ 
' ' 



sented by Cy Sulzberger. There is a book by him, AGE OF MEDIOCRITY, 
Which describes certain events of a later era, the 1960 's to 1973. 
I knew him as a cub reporter while we were all dreaming of getting 
an interview with Prince Regent Paul after the assassination of 
King Alexander. He came to Belgrade shortly before that, and he 
also stayed in that same hotel where we all had our offices, the 
Zemskii Krai. I saw him once on a Sunday running down the street 
with a tennis racket. 'Where are you going Cy? 1 I asked. 'Where 
am I going? I am going to play tennis with Prince Paul!' When 
I told Atherton and Kidd they couldn't believe it. But that was 
a token of the tremendous prestige enjoyed by the New __Yo rk JT im e s . 
Later he left and another man, Ray Brock, took his place. 
Pleasant, but tricky. We discovered that whatever news we sent 
exclusive news that we telephoned via Zurich to New York was 
always beaten by a few minutes by the New York Times. We knew 
that news originated with us, and we couldn't figure out how the 
New York Times managed to get this news ahead of us. Finally, we 
learned a simple fact, that Ray Brock had managed to put his wife 
into the telephone exchange in Zurich with the understanding that 
she would kick back the news coming from U P and A P to him. He 
would then call the New York ^imes , and after that the news would 
be conveyed to the other agencies. Of course it was not a very 
ethical thing to do, but the times were such that anything went. 
Another event which played as impo tant a role as my meeting 

iag ~ : ~ 

' ' MS 



[ - 


with Herr von Schimpf occurred at this time. Atherton asked me 
to go to Zagreb. He said he had learned that a lady had excaped 
from Nazi Germany and that I should go and interview her. 

So I went to Zagreb by train and went to the Hotel Esplanade 
and was introduced to Mrs. Schmidt. She was a very attractive 
young woman, who spoke perfect English, and I started to inter 
view her. She told me some horror stories about life in Nazi 
Germany; Gestapo atrocities, the shortage of food, etc. Really 
she answered my leading questions, because that was my instruc 
tion from Atherton, to ask her the most sensitive questions pos 
sible, and she answered very calmly. Our meeting ended, I said 
goodbye, and with my notes dashed back to Belgrade. 

So Europe was at war. Yugoslavia was not at war but there 
was a continual interplay between the rival forces, and her i 
neighbors Italy, and particularly Hungary, who had claims on 
some territories lost after World War I. So Yugoslavia was in a 
very uneasy situation. Then the war broke out in Albania, and 
through Albania the Italians attacked Greece. So we of United 
Press were very much interested in following the events. 

At that time George Kidd left the United Press office in 
Belgrade and in his place came Leon L. Kaye, also a very capable 
and jovial man under whom I worked at the most critical time of 
my journalistic career. 

One of the first assignments he gave me was to set up mach- 
ery which sould give us a flow of information about the develop- 


m .Ct: ': vo; 



ment of the war between the Italians and Greeks, in Albania of 
in the border areas between Albania and Greece. Fortunately I 
managed to find a Montenigran who was a newspaperman; he didn't 
speak any English but he had a wealth of information, and we es 
tablished a certain machinery with him that he would call us when 
he came to Belgrade. He became acquainted with me and he met 
Kaye, and then he went back to Pecz, a little town in the south 
of Yugoslavia. From there he was supposed to call us every day, 
and give the latest news, which I would then transmit to Kaye, 
and he would immediately call it to New York. Well, with that 
man we had the best coverage of that little known war on the bor 
ders of Albania. Sometimes the news was so exciting that we 
would get questions from New York whether we could ascertain that 
certain things actually took place. We replied that we had a 
reliable source of information, and that was that. 

One day there was an impo: tant town in which a battle had 
been raging for several days, Argirokastro. Suddenly we got a 
telephone call in the morning from our man in Pech who said that 
Argirokastro was taken by the Greeks, the Italians were pushed out, 
It was a very important and critical event of that war, so Kaye 
was reluctant. He said 'Check once with that man, to see whether 
he is telling the truth or it's just rumors.' So we flashed that 
news to New York, and then came a very searching inqui y 'Are you 
sure? No one else has reported Argirokastro being retaken. ' 




Kaye was a little distressed about the inquiries so he said 
'Alex, why don't you take a train and go to Pech? I want you to 
see that man on the spot and see how he operates. ' 

It was a long trip down south and involved changing trains 
at two junctions. What I found when I got there was not very 
encouraging. The man was sick and lying in his bed; he had TB 
in the very advanced stages. He had a little map of that area/ 
like taken from a high school geography book, and some people 
were coming to him and telling him various stories? he would jot 
them down and call us. 

I said, 'How do you get this information? Who are these 

'Oh, ' he said, 'they are montagnards who are coming from 
the mountains, and their information is usually very good. ' 

I wasn't very impressed, and my faith in that man's infor 
mation was shaken. But whenl called Kaye, my boss, in order to 
deny or confirm Argirokastro, our source said 'Oh, that's for 
sure. ' 

Strangely enough, when the man called us and we flashed that 
news, it hadn ' t taken place, but it <3id take place about three 
days later. So our flash gave the world the information of the 
capture of the city three days in advance of the actual fact. 

The only place from which to call Kaye from that town was 
the local telephone station, and here I noticed that I was under 

i" ;-i 

' POO ' ! 


;;ol ~ ;:ew 

.. -- . ?< 


"o r^ruJcrR" 
': orrBjq 

-; <5ivo!:'Q i ''IO"'' J 


surveillance by the local police. This meant that they were 
alerted by Belgrade about my trip. So I called Kaye and told 
him that it was just an act of fate that we should accept the 
man's news as valid, and that I had also collected the latest 
news from him, but was not very much impressed with the way that 
he collected his news. 

From that point on I noticed that I was under constant sur 
veillance by plainclothes policemen. Wherever I went there was 
one or two following me. Even when I was going home they were 
keeping watch on me, on two corners; when it was raining, with 
their umbrellas. I knew very well that the Yugoslavian police 
force at that time was heavily penetrated by pro-German elements, 
and they were apparently under orders to keep an eye on me and 
see what was going to happen. 

Again going back: At one point I was approached by a friend 
of mine from the time of my Balkan Herald advertising activities. 
He was a Persian citiaen who was a very rich man, he made money 
by delivering horses to the cavalry of all the Balkan countries, 
and also he was selling Persian rugs; he was married to a Russian 
girl. We were good friends through my friendship with his wife, 
and through much advertising of his rugs. One day he said, "You 
know, the Yugoslav government is planning to buy helmets for the 
army and there will be open bids for these helmets, I suggest 




that through your contacts in Greece you find somebody there who 
will bid. ' I immediately went to Greece, to my friend Mavromihalis, 
who got in touch with the two largest producers of steel helmets 
for the Greek army, and got from them the prices, etc. It was to 
be $300,000 in dollars, and the balance in local currencey; a 
million dollar bid. So I submitted that, and when the bids were 
opened the Greek bid was lowest and I dealt with the staff offic 
ers of the Yugoslav army who were very much interested in this. 
The other bid was from Czechoslovakia. I said, 'We know the sit 
uation; the Czechoslovakian source could be interrupted at any 
time that there's an outbreak of hostilities. The only logical 
place to get the helmets would be from the rear of Yugoslavia, 
from Greece. ' They agreed, and one day I got a telegram from 
the Ministry of War, saying 'We would like to see the manufac 
turers; we would like them to come to Belgrade. ' Here, I was 
involved with the Greek embassy, whom I knew very well through 
the Balkan Herald activities, and we set a date for these people 
to come. Finally after taking them over to the Ministry of War, 
they considered that the deal was finished, that this was it; 
the Greek firm would get the order to manufacture the helmets. 
So we were all set for that, and there was even a celebration 
dinner in the Greek embassy; champagne was flowing; and then I 
was waiting for the final orders. 

j. r. 


Chapter 48 Scenario VII 

I was almost in a state of euphoria about that Greek helmet 
deal, because I knew that when it went through I would be a rela 
tively rich man because of the money I was supposed to get out of 
it. However those sweet dreams didn't last too long. There was 
delay after delay after delay, and in the meantime we learned 
that the War Minister had gone to the Soviet Union and all activ 
ities in the deal were stopped. Upon return of the War Minister 
I was summoned to the War Ministry and told that any deals about 
buying armaments, helmets, etc. were off, since Yugoslavia hoped 
to get all necessary equipment vrom the Soviet Union. It was a 
blow, and I knew it was a terrible thing that Yugoslavia was 
counting on getting that kind of help from the communists, but 
that was that; Yugoslavia trusted the Soviet Union, remembering 
still the old Russia that helped small Serbia in the critical 
hours of her history in 1914. So the deal was off. 

Around that time, a very sad event happened in our family, 
the death of my mother. She died on the 18th of January 1941, 
on the eve of Russian Epiphany. On that day she went to church; 
she brought some holy water from church and went around the house 
blessing it, sprinkling all the rooms with holy water. She 
looked tired, and laid down. My sister Tania and I were supposed 
to go to a party that night, but around 5 oclock my mother com 
menced to cough and called Tania and me, saying that she didn't 


oo oj b^or-'s 


feel very well. I knew that a doctor lived in the apartment 
below, so I called him, but it was already too late; mother was 
dying. She told us only that her letter to us hAjd instructions, 
about the funeral, and what we were supposed to do. She was 
aware of the forthcoming terrible events in the world? she pre 
dicted that we might be going to Berlin to live with Aunt Lika, 
Then she asked my sister to bring to us the icon, and place it 
in front of her, and looking at that icon and silently praying, 
she passed away. She was a devout Christian and churchgoer; she 
never missed a service; and she was known to all the priests. 
The Metropolitan Anastasii came to church for the final ritual 
for my mother, a great honor. She was buried in Belgrade in 
the same grave where my father was buried. 

In 1972 when my wife and I went to Yugoslavia I went to that 
cemetery and couldn't find the place because, I learned at the 
office, later on someone else was buried in that same grave. 

Tania and I were very much depressed by this, but life went 
on. At the same time I was constantly aware of being followed. 
This was probably due to my activities as a newspaperman, I 
thought. At that time to be a newspaperman on the side of the 
Allies America, Great Britain, France, etc. was considered 
as a hostile act against the Germans. Of course we were all 
interested and concerned about the next move the Germans would 
make, as they obviously were about to move toward the Balkans. 


The British were friends of the Americans, and some friends from 
the British legation whom I knew had approached Kaye and had 
asked if he would mind that he and I would share with them some 
of their news. They were interested in the same news that we 
ware interested in and they all knew that through my background, 
my knowledge of the Yugoslav situation, language, and Balkan sit 
uation in general I might be a useful source of information for 
them. Of course my sympathies were on the side of the Americans 
and British. So, probably involuntarily, through sharing infor 
mation, I was unwittingly dragged into something that would be 
called intelligence work helpful to the British, who were already 
at war with Germany, while the United States was neutral. It was 
spring of 1941 and the Yugoslav secret police was heavily infil 
trated by German agents, and they were watching me. 

At the same time I had to get information as part of my 
newspaper activities. Toward this end I established an interest 
ing contact with a Yugoslav man who worked for the German airline 
Lufthansa. He was providing us with the most interesting inform 
ation about the flight through Yugoslavia of various Nazi big 
shots going to Istanbul, to Bulgaria, and so forth. I would meet 
him somewhere and he would slip me a piece of paper with the 
names of important Nazis who travelled through Yugoslavia. I re 
layed that information to Kaye; some of it was not of interest 
to him, but he told me I could share it with our British friends, 
which I did. 

vcf be s 

msr I ri: 


One of these was the British air attache in Belgrade, Wing 
Commander McDermott. He told me that he would appreciate it if 
I would call him sometimes, but never from my house as the tele 
phone might be tapped. I was to call from different places, 
never to tell who was calling, nor to reveal my name. It was 
agreed upon that I would identify myself as McNab, so that was 
my name in dealing with the British. 

I learned from McDermott certain other interesting tricks 
of intelligence precautions. As I say, I wasn't an intelligence 
agent, but with Kaye's permission I shared news, although I had 
to be very cautious about it. He said, "There are three places 
in which we can meet? a Cafe Casino, a Cafe Coliseum, and another 
cafe. When we make arrangements to meet, if we say 'let's meet 
at 7 oclock at the Casino, ' that woald mean that we would meet 
an hour and a half before that a t the Coliseum cafe. ' So I 
learned this kind of a code and we used to meet there and I 
passed to him some information. 

One of my informants was a police secret agent, a young fel 
low who, for a 100 dinar note aboat $2 was willing to tell 
me all he knew. Some of the information was fantastically inter 
esting for Kaye and for the British, about the movement of German 
troops in Romania, and how they were assembling a pontoon bridge 
along the Danube shore which at any moment by the force of the 
current could make a crossing possible from Romania to Yugoslavia. 


:to snO 


P. '3v.' 


nJ. 3c; 



And I was meeting some other people who were slipping me little 
pieces of information at the entrances to movies, etc. But, as 
I say, I was being followed and that bothered me; I was afraid 
that at any time I might be arrested. 

There were interesting events going on in the Hotel Srbskii 
Krai, the gathering place of all newspapermen both of the allied 
and Americans, and also of the Axis powers. We all had to share 
the same bar. At that time the CBS correspondent in Belgrade 
was Winston Burdett, who still broadcasts from Rome. He was 
married to an Italian girl, of Jewish descent, a very charming 
lady, and we were usually sitting together: Ray Brock from the 
New York Times, Burdett, 0' Sullivan from Associated Frees, Kay 
from United Press, myself, and another man named something like 
Fleming from Associated Press. I remember one day a noisy party 
was going on headed by a representative of DNB, the German News 
Service. They were togs ting victories of their friends, and the 
wife of Winston Burdett couldn't stand it any more so she grabbed 
a bottle of beer and threw it at that man, and hit him on the 
head. Well, he jumped up and rushed toward us and a fist fight 
ensued between the Germans and the British and Americans. Since 
I was no good for fighting, I retreated to a corner. Strangely 
enough, a friend of mine was working at that hotel on the tele 
phone exchange, which was not far- away from the bar, so when he 
heard the big commotion he peeked out and saw what was going on. 

. . . 




But he didn't report the event immediately to the police, and 
the next morning he was arrested for not reporting that inter 
national incident in the Hotel Srbskii. 

Yugoslavia was trying to remain neutral but it was almost 
impossible. Germany put pressure on the Yugoslav government to 
sign the Tripartite Pact, that is, to join the Axis. On the 25th 
of March, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia was summoned to Berchtesgaden 
to see Hitler, and under threat of annihilation of Yugoslavia, 
the prime minister of Yugoslavia very reluctantly signed that 

The Yugoslavs, especially the Serbs, were traditionally pro- 
French and pro-English and strongly resented collaboration with 
the Axis. As patriots and democrats they felt themselves duty 
bound to do all they could to stop fascist agression. So there 
was a conspiracy, and we learned that some people in the armed 
forces, particularly in the air force, were trying to do some 
thing about the situation. 

The secret negotiations of the Yugoslav leaders with Germany 
and Italy, the intensified activities of German agents in the 
country and the German plans to seize Salonikaland, indifference 
to the pride of friendly Greece, refusal to undertake military 
preparations, failure to negotiate treaties with Bulgaria and 
Turkey, and the rejection of British aid, was crowned with the 
signing of the Tripartite Pact. The conspirators, supported by 

jjl tX^fj 

:ao- --" 


the British, were shocked by this and determined to do something 
in the national interest. So on March 27, a coup d'etat took 
place, intended to save Yugoslavia's honor. It also had far 
reaching military consequences, because it forced Germany to 
revise its plans for military operations against Greece and the 
Soviet Union. Those responsible for the coup, headed by General 
Simovich,air force commander, have said that their deed was a 
major political defeat for Hitler, and contributed to his ulti 
mate defeat. That was slightly exaggerated but there was also 
some truth to it, for it actually moved the timetable for German 
plans back a few months, which put German troops at the gates 
of Moscow not in the fall but in the winter. Then General Frost 
took over and helped the Soviets to defeat the Germans at Moscow. 

Following the signing of the Pact, the atmosphere was one of 
defiance; there were demonstrations on the streets, people were 
going around shouting ' Bo^e rat neo akt! ' which means 'better 
war than pact!' On the 26th, on the eve of the coup d'etat, all 
we newspapermen felt that something was about to happen, but we 
didn't know what. There were rumors that British troops ware 
landing in Salonika, to help the Yugoslavs against the Germans, 
but I think those rumors were spread by British intelligence. 

On the night of the 26th I did my regular routine task of 
going around at 11 oclock in the evening to the two local Belgrade 
nespapers, Politika and Vremia, getting their next day editions 

Isnoi .:* en 




fresh from the printing press and scanning them, looking for the 
latest news which might be of importance to send to New York. I 
didn't find anything of particular interest. I called my boss, 
Leon Kaye, from home and he said that if I heard something I had 
better come to his hotel to see what was going to happen. 

I got up early in the morning and went to the Srbskii Kraj . 
There were many troops on the streets, and some tanks, so I knew 
that something had happened. I rushed to Leon Kaye's hotel 
suite. Some friends came in and said there was a coup by the 
air force, Commanding General Simovich , and other officers who 
opposed the policy of regent Paul and wanted to create a pro- 
allied government headed by the child King Peter, at that time 
only 14 or 15 years old. 

We wanted desperately to send wires, but all telephone 
lines were cut off. A coup had occurred and we weren't able to 
send a wire about it! We tried to approach the new rulers, but 
with no result whatsoever. I kept calling the central telephone 
exchange office, and managed to establish contact with a girl 
at the foreign telephone exchange; . she promised to help me once 
there were lines open, at 10 oclock in the evening. It was 
27 March 1941. 

I asked the girl for her name and identified myself; she 
knew who I was because we were good customers, along with other 
newspapermen, calling constantly via Zurich to New York. 


o'^ed 13 SV 

Chapter 49 Scenario VII 

Throughout the day, Belgrade was in turmoil. Troops occu 
pied all public buildings, and the local police were taken over 
by air force units. I was particularly happy at this, since I 
heard they had arrested 11 pro-German agents who had penetrated 
the police and therefore their surveillance of me would stop. 

My recent boss, Atherton, who was still my sister Tania's 
boss, had a car, and he, Kaye and I went driving through the 
town observing the manifestations of incredible joy and patriotic 
feeling. People were singing and dancing, and shouting 'Boje 
rat nego pakt! ' voicing a preference to war over the hated pact, 
which they considered a betrayal of Yugoslavia to the Germans. 

There had been some changes in the newspaper corps. O' Sullivan 
of Associated Press had left and his place was taken by very able 
newspaperman Robert St. John. Brock remained, and there was Lee 
White of NBC and Peter Brow.i from Reuters, and many others. At 
a time like that we were all more or less banded together, _ 
despite being competitors in every respect, and were just 
waiting for the lines to be opened. The gathering of the crowds 
also resulted in some anti-German and -Italian demonstrations. 
A crowd rushed the German travel agency, which also housed 
Lufthansa's airline office, a beautiful office with great plate 
glass windows. They smashed the windows and then people got in 
side and smashed everything in sight, tearing off posters with 

' ' 

' ' ' 

p,. - 

-.e."6.' r 
nr~s *-'?* r^T - fi i-< ; U ;->- 


the German swastika and so forth. The Italian travel agency ex 
perienced the same fate. 

Still, it was not quite clear whether the forces who had 
seized power were in full control or not. We learned that Prince 
Paul had left the night before in his train for Zagreb. The new 
government was afraid that he might try to sneak out of the 
country, so telegrams were sent to Zagreb to stop him. He was 
returned to Belgrade and immediately brought into the war minis 
try before the new leader, General Simovich, with whom he agreed 
to leave the country and go to Greece the very same night. So 
the boy king Peter assumed power. 

However, the situation didn't clear up until some hours 
later, in the afternoon; the position of the royal guard was not 
very clear in the morning hours. Some of the cavalry guard regi 
ment were still against the revolt, but when the troops of the 
new regime approached the royal palace with tanks they finally 
surrendered and went on the side of the people who had seized 
power, the anti-German and pro-British forces of General Simovich. 

Travelling through town, whenever Atherton and Kaye identi 
fied themselves as being American and British we were the objects 
of enthusiastic ovations. Atherton, who knew some Serbian, was 
shouting also 'Boje rat nego pakt! ' ('better war than pact! 1 and 
so it was going on all day long. 

The trouble was that we couldn't send news. Kaye was in 

O r" t , * c* f - f * *-> * -i r- " 


despair. He told me that he would try to escape from Belgrade, 
which was completely sealed by the troops; get across the Sava 
River and try to hire a car; go as far as he could from Belgrade 
to some point where he could send a wire. He instructed me to 
stay in the hotel aid try to get through to New York on the tele 
phone exchange. He left, and meanwhile I decided to leave my 
post for a short time, got a taxi cab and drove to the main tele 
phone and telegraph and post office. On my way there I managed 
to buy the best possible box of candy, took it with me, and with 
some difficulty managed to get to the girl who was handling the 
outside calls of the telephone exchange. She said that she would 
stay there until the late hours and when a line was open she 
would see that we got it first. She was very touched by my 
little bribe of a box of chocolates, and kept her promise. Kaye 
returned from his unsuccessful attempt to cross the river around 
6 pm and to my surprise he was a little tipsy. He had had too 
much to drink while trying to negotiate with a boatman to take 
him across the river, and while returning with the soldiers who 
arrested him. He managed to get the boat alright, and the man 
started to row him across the river, but the patrol on the river 
bank opened fire and he was arrested. He tried to call me, but 
they didn't permit it. So he was under arrest for 3 hours, un 
til finally toward evening they let him go and he dashed to the 
office. I reported to him what I had done; then we were just 

r e a a .*. 



>3 ~ X 5 


waiting and waiting. So were all of our competitors Robert 
St. John, Ray Brock of the NewJfqrk_Times, Atherton foe the Daily 
Mail, etc. Finally around 10:30 the telephone rang in OUT room; 
I picked it up and it was the girl. She said 'You get the line; 
I have hooked you into all outgoing lines. ' This meant that we 
were hooked simultaneously to lines via Istanbul, Zurich and 
Budapest we had all three lines. Kaye, who by that time had 
sobered up, fortunately had started to dictate his messages, 
which he scribbled before the line was opened, and when he fin 
ished he said 'We have to keep those lines busy so that other 
people won't get in. ' We managed to keep the lines busy for 
half an hour. That was good enough to beat any competition for 
anyone. We learned later on that the United Press really did 
get out the first information about the coup d'etat in Yugoslavia. 
Later on it was recognized in a book by Robert St. John, FROMJTHE 
LAND OF SILENT PEOPLE, which gives a more comprehensive idea of 
what took place in Yugoslavia during this period. 

I stayed overnight with Kaye, and messages were coming con 
stantly from New York inquiring about additional details, etc. , 
which we managed to provide; we were getting new information all 
the time about the departure of the prince regent, change of the 
government, etc. 

Next day a king's proclamation was announced and the boy 
king, Peter II, was sworn in as the new king of Yugoslavia. 


r c ' ' j.ew bne pnJ-jz 


or a 

1 1 .'', 6 



A Te Deum was announced, to be held in the Belgrade main cathed 
ral, and the Serbian patriarch conducted services. All the dip 
lomatic corps was invited, including the German and Italian am 
bassadors. All of us went. It was difficult to get in the church 
since only people with special passes could enter, but we observed 
all the dignitaries of the diplomatic corps. Then, after the end 
of the Te Deum, King Peter emerged with the Patriarch, General 
Simonovich, other members of the government, and the diplomatic 
corps. And here outbursts of hatred on the part of the people of 
Belgrade were manifested when they rushed for the car of the 
Minister of Germany, von Herre. I saw with my own eyes how his 
car was pounded upon with fists, and people were rushing to it 
to spit on it. I have never seen anything like it? the car was 
all covered with spittle. I realized then that certainly the 
relations between Yugoslavia and Germany would be very cool, if 
they did not reach the breaking point. Finally the gendarmes 
helped that car to be removed and rushed back to the German em 
bassy. Troops surrounded the embassy so that people wouldn't 
rush in and smash everything. 

During the night messages came from the United Press head 
office in New York congratulating Kaye on the outstanding service 
we had rendered in beating all of the other agencies and papers 
with our exclusive story. Then, around 5 oclock in the mo.vning, 
a message came from the head of the United Press announcing that 

SE-: - 


& i\ j mo" i 1 a rr; c r> < ' B s a e 


a special bonus of $500 would be awarded to Kaye and $200 to me, 
which made me very proud indeed at that time. 

From that time on Yugoslavia had to prepare for war. We 
heard that the Germans were concentrating troops on the Yugoslav 
borders. Heavy tank concentrations were noticed in Hungary/ al 
ready taken over by the German; troops were in Bulgaria and Romania, 
and in Hungary a heavy concentration of attack bombers and fighter 
planes was noticed. The Yugoslav government announced a partial 
mobilization, and so events were rolling fast toward a great 

I will remember the next Sunday, 6 April, 1941, as long as 
I live; it was a terrible day. During the days after the coup, 
the Germans evacuated their embassy, and nationals, which showed 
that we could expect outbreak of war at any time. We were send 
ing information about that all the time, and the Yugoslav army 
was mobilized. I remember that on Saturday the 5th April there 
were many air raid exercises, the sirens were wailing, and then 
the all clear was sounded; it was repeated several times. It 
was all exercises prepared for anticipated attack by the Germans. 

On instructions from Leon Kaye I was always walking in 
Belgrade and calling him from various points, describing to him 
what happened. My sister Tania was busy with Atherton until 
late in the evening hours, but she went home about 10 oclock and 
remained at home with Lusha. At that time I was grateful that 


mother had quietly passed away, for I knew it would have been 
terrible for her to live through those fateful days. 

On the night of the 6th and 7th of April I was walking in 
the direction of the railroad station to see what was going on 
there, when I heard a terrible noise, and saw a column of tanks 
going up the streets in the direction of the bridge across the 
Danube. I rushed for the telephone and told Kaye about this 
column of tanks going apparently to the border. Kaye ordered me 
to come back to the office. We reviewed the situation, and he 
said 'Alright, now you better go get some sleep because tomorrow 
morning we will have to be ready for all kinds of events. ' So I 
went, reaching our home at Stranichne Bana St. no. 33 at around 
3 oclock in the morning. I was exhausted and lay down to sleep. 

I was awakened by a terrible noise. It was already bright 
out as I jumped out of bed. The cathedral bells were pealing 
from the main cathedral, not far away; sirens started to wail, 
and then we heard the terrible noise of stukas. fighter bombers 
equipped with sirens which made a tremendous noise when diving 
and the heavy thud of falling bombs. I started to dress and 
suddenly our house shook as if there was a heavy earthquake, and 
we realized that it had been hit by a bomb. There were heavy ex 
plosions everywhere around us. We looked through the window and 
saw smoke and debris. Tania and I grabbed Lusha and rushed 
down stairs into the cellar. It was the best possible shelter 

...'. nv/e 


because the cellars in Belgrade, used for storage of coal and 
firewood, were well built. So we stood there with many other 
people who lived inour house, listening to terrible explosions, 
the noise of diving stukas and the whistle of falling bombs. 

After the first wave of bombers there was silence, and we 
heard only shouting and screams of wounded people. Tania said 
'Let's go upstairs and save some things!' 

I had a special package with all- important documents, and 
some old photographs from Russia, but I left all that. I just 
took a shaving kit, pair of pajamas, pair of underwear, an extra 
shirt, slippers, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and that was about 
all, in a little overnight bag. Tania was more thoughtful; she 
first of all took the old icon, which had been in our family for 
almost 200 years, mother and father's prayer book, and a few 
other things in a suitcase. We all rushed down into the cellar 
just as a new wave of bombers came, bringing new terror and de 

Chapter 50 Scenario VII 

The vicious, indiscriminate bombardment of Belgrade by 
waves of German fighter bombers and big bombers continued, bring 
ing terrible destruction and killing many people. It should be 
said that in a last attempt to avoid destruction, Belgrade was 
proclaimed an open city. It was a desperate act of the govern- 


00 S :i 

nc.f rofj 

'.">." C . H'; 

'i^ fcjfi 


ment, trying to save Belgrade from this kind of punishment. It 
meant that there would be no anti-aircraft artillery around the 
city, so no anti-aircraft measures were used during the first day 
Only the next day were some anti-air c> aft guns hastily brought to 
areas sur ounding Belg ade, but the number of pieces was very small 
and of course couldn't stop the incoming waves of German bombers. 
In this respect, the attack of the Ge mans upon Yugoslavia was ve y 
simila to thei v attack on Warsaw, and later on, the attack on 
Rotterdam, which shook the civilized wo Id by its vicious destruc 

During the 9 days between the coup d'etat on the 27 March and 
the attack on Belgrade on April 6th r which, by the way, was on Palm 
Sunday the Germans usually used such big holidays for their 
attacks the Yugoslav government tried to take certain measures 
to help save the population from air attack by the Germans. Hast 
ily, some air raid shelters were built in the public parks. Actu 
ally just deep trenches we^ e dug, and covered with some light mat 
erials for protection against splinters rathe'- than any di-ect. hit 
One such shelter was dug out in the famous Kalimingan park across 
from the Hotel S^-bskii K a j , whe e most of the western newspaper 
men had thei rooms and offices. A bomb hit that shelter and 

killed many people tightly packed in those trenches The same fate 

was expe ienced by people who tried to find shelter in a churchyard 
of the Voznesenskii church in the center of the city I don't know 




"to r -> 

f ri 

r - 

P vrj 









whether the German pilots saw these trenches from above and pur 
posely hit them, or not, but other air raid shelters were also hit 
Most heavily bombarded were all government buildings, the British 
Legation, and the American Embassy. The area where we lived was 
close to the military barracks, so it was really devastated, and 
it is no wonder that one of the first bombs in this bombardment 
hit ou house. 

As soon as the bombardment started, before we even ran down 
into the cellar to take shelter there, I turned on the adio; but 
to my surprise, there was no announcement made Only folk music 
was serenely playing over the radio while the city was undergoing 
bombardment by the Geman stukas 

I also tried to call the Hotel Srbskii K a j . I managed to 
get through to Leon Kaye, who told me in a panicky voice that 
bombs had hit the hotel and that he was dashing down to save his 
life, that he would t y to get to the American Embassy, and that 

I should try to get in touch with him there. My next call, to 
Atherton, didn't get through. 

After we had gone upstairs to fetch our things, and were back 
waiting in the cellar, I suddenly heard a car stop before our 
house Looking through the small windows at the pavement level 
from our shelter, I saw that it was Terence Atherton, my former 
boss and Tania's present boss, who had come to see us a very 
great gesture by hiral Tania ran upstai s to the front doo to 
meet him, and he said 'Without losing any time, get into the car 


IIo ixart vM .9isri3 mirf ri3iw rfoucrf ni 3ap o3 \nt3 blue 


and let's get out of Belgrade! I am leaving, and you cannot stay 
here under any circumstances. Sooner or later, the Germans will 
capture Belgrade and you cannot afford to stay under the Germans 1 
You will be in aortal danger! 1 

He was so excited and so persuasive, we told him 'Alright, we 
will go with you, but what about the old lady, our devoted servant 
Lusha? We have obligations toward her; we cannot leave her here 
alone 1 ' 

'I cannot take her, ' he said, 'but I will take you, make up 
your mind. ' 

'We cannot leave her; ' I replied, 'we have a moral obligation 
to take care of herP I was a little surprised at Atherton's ex 
citement, and the insistence with which he tried to instill in us 
the necessity to leave Belgrade because we would, as he said, be 
"in mortal danger. " 

'You could do us a great service,' I told him, 'if you take 
us to the suburbs of Belgrade? I know that you are planning to go 
south so your road will go by the house of M . Sabashkov. a Russian 
He told me once that in case anything eve: happened we could always 
come and stay with him ' 

M Sabashkov lived outside the limits of Belgrade and I was 
hoping that this area had been spared from the bombardment He 
was an old man living with a lady who was his common-law wife He 
couldn't marry her because of religious reasons He was an Old 






Believer and couldn't get wedding rights in the regular Orthodox 
Church in Belg ade so they were living as common-law husband and 
wife. He was a relatively rich man. He had two or three apartment 
houses in Belgrade which were rented very nicely for him, and he 
told me on several occasions that he kept lots of gold in some 
places under his villa. I had dinner at his house once or twice 
a month, and recently had been almost weekly in his house He 
liked my company because he had some very interesting people 
around him actors, artists, waiters, and newspapermen and 
I was always interesting company for these people because through 
me they got the latest news? they knew that I was a United Press 
correspondent and knew the situation better than any one of them. 
So that was how our friendship got established. He was fond of 
me and had given me his standing invitation for my siste^ and I to 
come and live vJith them. So I thought that it would probably be 
our best bet to go there, because to stay in the area where we 
were was impossible The three of us joined Athei-ton in his car, 
and we sta ted in that direction However, we had not passed two 
blocks when a new wave of bombers came 

"We have to hide somewhere!" Athe ton said 

There was a big house with an under g ound garage and a wide 
opening leading to it. The garage was empty, so he just drove 
his car in there. At that moment a bomb fell close to the entrance, 
a shock wave shook us up inside that garage, and we saw a 

t I~> 




a i ri 

,^ir : 


house across the street start to burn. 

Then Atherton and I looked around and we saw something that 
really scared us. Stored in that garage were many canisters of 
gasoline, big caniste- s like metal barrels. 'If ever that flame 
comes to ou area, ' we thought, 'we would just perish in that flame 

It was probably the worst bombardment that we experienced, 
there, in that particular shelter. Pi^st of all shock waves were 
coming into that garage and shook us terribly, and then the noise! 
First we would hear the noise of approaching planes and then the 
noise of stuka sirens when they were diving upon that area; then 
as they came up from the dives we would hear the whistle of bombs, 
and then the heavy explosions all a-ound. The house shook, prob 
ably also hit by several bombs I was scared, but I knew that I 
couldn't ever show that I was scared. 

For under conditions of battle or bombardment, when in mortal 
danger, people are divided into brave people and cowards. It is 
supposed that brave people don't experience any fear, while cowards 
a>e frightenec and show their fear. Actually I believe that every 
human being experiences fear in terrible adve se situations like 
wa 1 -, combat, bombardment, etc. The only diffe ence is that the 
so-called b ave people hide that fearr they hide showing that they 
are scared in the same way as those who are called cowa-'c's don't 

hide that feeling They hide it an d the y P 1 ^ a role - Ifc takes 
some effort to do that, but anyone can do it and pass for a brare 





ari ' 

", !S-:- 


man I had experienced that myself in the past on many occasions 
before this one. Fo instance, as I stated before, I was twice 
decorated fox bravery. But to say that I wasn't scared at that 
time no I But I played a role, as on the stage I played the 
role of a brave man, I didn't want anyone to see that I was scared, 
and that probably helped me and helped other people who were ob 
serving me It was the same in Belgrade; I knew that we we 1 e in 
mo> tal danger, that we could be hit by a bomb, o that flame 
would ignite the gasoline tanks and we would perish in a minute 
in a ter; ible conflagration Tania, Lusha and Atherton were al 
most trembling, and I grabbed Tania and Lusha and said 'You stay 
close to me. ' Talking very quietly and calmly, showing neither 
by my facial exp ession no- by my voice how I felt. I said 'You 
just stay and we will p ay together and everything will be al 
right. Just have trust that everything will pass. ' And so we 
were waiting through probably the worst of the episodes that we 
expe/ienced in the 3 day bombardment of Belgrade. 

The bombers usually came over certain areas in two or three 
waves, and then they would move to another area and drop thei 
bombs there. They d opped bombs of all calibre; among them some 
tremendously la ge ones which they d opped by parachute p obably 
because they wanted more precision in the hits with these bombs. 

Well, after two waves passed ove us and ou area became a 
little calmer, we decided not to waste any time because of the 

..Iff " 


fires eve-ywhere around, and we jumped into the car again It was 
difficult to d^ive th ough the city because the? e was so much debris, 
so many bomb c: ate s everywhere which were hard to bypass in the car. 
Finally we came to an impo tant intersection which we needed to pass. 
Just then, to our sorrow and amazement, one of the big bombs fell 
just exactly on that intersection, making out of it a crater, so that 
there was no possibility whatsoever of getting ac oss a crater 
with the facades of four houses, on four corne s, destroyed I 
looked up and saw the interiors of the houses, and on certain floods, 
pa ts of the ooms, some bodies, and pieces of furniture. It was 
a terrible thing; everywhe e the e were bodies o> parts of the 
bodies of human beings We had to make constant detou s around such 
places, but at last we reached the main oad leading toward the 
Avila, that little mountain, south of Belg ade. 

When we came to M v . Sabushkov's villa I was elieved to see 
that it was still intact So we said goodbye to Atherton He 
started again to plead with us that we had to go, and said 'As a 
matter of fact, I am going back now, to the British Legation, as I 
want to be with the British people and we will p obably leave town 
togethej . ' But we couldn't leave Lusha, and we decided to stay 
with the Sabushkovs. 

The Sabushkovs were extremely pleased to see us. They were 
scared, and alone, except for thei> old servant So they immediately 
made rooms available for us. They had a two storey house with a 




large basement which seived as a shelter, and was also where Tania's 
and my rooms we- e, while Lusha shared the oom with thei> servant. 
Their house wasn't hit, but bombs had hit the garden. It was a 
strange thing; they had appa ently fallen on soft ground and had 
made deep tunnels, and had not exploded. I didn't realize then how 
dangerous these unexploded bombs were, but late on we learned that 
some of the bombs dropped by the Germans were time bombs. Po tun- 
ately, the two bombs that had hit M . Sabashkov's garden didn't 
explode, at least while we were the^e. From his house, which was 
on an elevated plateau, we could see Belgrade burning; it was a 
terrible thing. The upper floo*- of one of the highest buildings, 
the 13 storey "Albania" building, was aflame We could see the 
bombers coming around, and how they were diving; then we would hear 
the thud of the bombs 

We told Sabashkov what we had experienced and what we had seen 
He told us not to wo -ry, that he htd plenty of produce and othe- 
supplies, and just to calm down and start 'o live the e as best we 
could. We told him all the ho ror stories; he asked about our 
house and we said 'We don't know. We know that it was hit at least 
by one bomb at the very beginning of the bombardment ' 

Thinking of that wai?, I think I have to exp ess here that it 
seempd to me. at least at that time, that wa ' is a noise: There 
was the te rible noise that stukas make when they sc earn down in a 
dive right at your head, with the wind making thei< sirens go ound 

-t f i 




and ound like mad, the noise of the bombs when they fly down, then 
the thick heavy noise of the explosion. Next, when bombs fall close 
to where you are, after the explosion the-e is a kind of complete 
silence for a minute, which is p obably mo v e terrifying than even 
the explosion itself. 

Late on, I lea ned another thing, that wa^ is a smell. We 
couldn't go back to Belg ade fo* 3 days, because for three days 
Belg- ade was indiscriminately bombarded. When the bom ardment 
ceased. Tania and I decided to go to Belg ade. It was a long walk, 
since streetcars and buses we en't functioning; so we started our 
long walk towa d the center of Belgrade and ou destination, ou 
house. We went, but what we saw on ou wayl The close^ we got to 
the city, the wo se it became twisted iron, the smell of burned 
human flesh, still-smoulde ing debris, fires still burning? every 
thing was covered with black soot; it was the most nauseating 
sight which we saw and smelled on that terrible day. 

Chapter 51 Scenario VII 

The e was still smoke coming out of some of the buildings? people 
were still t-ying to dig out others who we e t apped in the uins 
of the houses We saw many bodies lyinc on the st rrt waiting 
to be car ie<? away. I would neve fo get that te>- ible awful 
sight ) Destruction, and the all-pe -vadino smell of burned wood 
and of burned flesh 


" 5 



' . 

v fit- *. 


G adually we made ou way along St anichna Ba a St. toward 
ou house, finally eaching a point whe e we knew that after the 
next tu n we would be able to see it I told Tania 'Lrt's stop- 
let's just carefully look around the coiner and see whether we 
will see the corner of our house. ' It was something like a poker 
game whe> e you look carefully at the cards, slowly aising one 
care 1 at a time and looking at what you have I was looking in 
the same way towa d ou house. I looked ve y cautioasly and said 
'Listen, I see the wall, the corner of our house.' I moved my 
head a little bit farther, and then g^eat disappointment 1 The 
wall was only an empty shell, with gaping holes instead of windows. 
The interior had collapsed, leaving only the outside walls We 
looked at each other and said nothing Finally I said. 'Well, 
that's it. we have lost everything we had ' 

At that time I ealized something The first time ou family 
lost everything was in the summer of 1914, when we left everything 
that we had in Poland and went on ou. summer vacation to Yalta, in 
the C imea, never to retu n home again We lost eve ylhing then, 
but it was not so t agic because father had occupied a good position 
as a judge and he again hot a good position in Odessa We ented 
a nice apa tment there and bought all the furniture that was needed 
and established a moi-e or less no mal life, as much as it could be 
under conditions of Wo Id War I; it was already 1916 However we 
had a comfortable life; Father could continue to play the piano. 


though it was no longer a grand piano as we had in ou - place in 
Lomzha, but an upright one But then with the revolution came 
oui terrible experience with communism, the bolsheviks and Chekar 
and I went to the front with the White A^my. Then in January 1920 


my pa ents had to flee Odessa, and again we lost everything; that 
was the second time 

Then, after I left the C imea as a young wounded office^ in 
November 1920. ou family eunited in Va na That Va^na was a 
p etty sad experience because we didn't have any jobs or posses 
sions and lived like poor people, although intellectually it was 
a nice time because the e we e many Russian emigres a^d we at ou 
chu ch organized ou lib ary and some cultural activities But 
then I had to flee Bulgaria and go to Yugoslavia, to where I fin 
ally managed to bring the family. There we managed to establish, 
fo 1 " the thi- d time everything, in more or less no mal form againr 
we had a nice apartment, with Lusha as servant, all the furnitu e 
we needed, etc. Now, for a third time, we had lost everything in 
that German attack on Belg ade. The only document which I saved, 
which I always carried with me, was my passport All othe^ docu 
ments perished, along with everthing else I was thinking of that 
as I looked at the pile of Bubble inside the empty shell of the 
walls of ou house We entered the main entrance and I saw that 
the steps led only to the first floo and then eve ything was 


f i >5 



It was a shock, but after experiencing the bombardment and 
everything, we had al eady become kind of numb to big emotions 
as far as losing p operty was conce ned. So we just sadly walked 
away, and I said 'Let's go to see what happened to the hotel 
S'bskii k ai. ' I knew that my boss Leon Kaye had left, so we 
went there and found the hotel destroyed by the bombardment. 
Then we went to the centrally located Taka Building, containing 
the famous Belgrade department store downstairs and the auditor's 
office on the top floor To ou - amazement and pleasu e, the 6 
sto y building stood intact Tania always carried the key to the 
auditor's office, so we went upstai s and went in. I >new that 
Atherton had left after he had given us a lift to the place whe^e 
we stayed outside Belg ade city limit, but he had left his over>- 
coat and hat I had forgotten mine, so I said 'Well this is 
something I can use, ' so I took his overcoat, which was a little 
bit long fo- me but still possible to wear, and his hat, which 
fit my head, and Tania took the po v table typewriter and we locked 
the office and left. On our way back home we called at several 
places of ouv acquaintances . Although some of our friends' 
houses wee uined, we found that others' were not involved; 
two o> three families' houses were intact and we found all the 
people whom we wanted to see. Among them was a certain family of 
Poliakovs She had been a famous ballerina in the past and was 
always attending the dinner parties at the home of our host, M' . 


Sabuchkov So we were glad to see that they were alright and 
that their house was not hit. It was at M s Poliakov's that I 
had met the famous, legendary p ima ballerina of the old Russian 
ballet, Anna Pavlova. 

We were happy to find other friends of ou s also sound and 
alive, and then we had to go back since there was no transporta 
tion yet of any kind and it was a long walk home. By the time we 
got there, Lusha and the Sabuchkovs were worried about us, and 
happy to see us back. As I said, we didn't suffer 
from lack of food because The Sabuchkovs, apparently in antici 
pation of events like that, had managed to save lots of produce 
and kept them available; so we had something to eat all the time. 

In the meantime, events were developing very fast, but we 
didn't know anything; the radio didn't work and the newspapers 
didn't appear. But I started going more frequently to town now 
and visited the Russian church, which fo tunately was not hit 
It was Easter time, but of cou se no one thought of coming to 
Easte services. 

We leanied that the Germans were apidly app caching, the 
Yugoslav army was etreating in diso der, and the Yugoslav 
government had moved southward towa d the Ad iatic Sea. One 
night we heard two t emendous explosions coming from the Belgrade 
area. 'I am su e they have blown the bridges,' I told Sabochkov 
And that proved to be the case, except that they were in such a 


-;n 'b 








1 ' . S3 



hurry to blow the bridges before the Germans could use them that 
one bridge across the Sava River was blown without any wa ning 
while some milita y vehicles were still going over it Wo^se 
still, unde the b idge a steamship was passing, with troops and 
ammunition, and the bridge collapsed on it Ac eat many people 
perished in that self-inflicted disaster. 

Shortly after that an event happened that shook me up and 
saddened me greatly. M . Sabochkov, ou host, who had given us 
shelter, was an old man, of advanced age and for a few days he 
complained to me that he did not feel well and didn't sleep well 
We tried to have someone with him, to help him with medicine, and 
water, but early one morning I was wakened by his wife who said 
"Get upl M . Sabachkov has passed awayl" I was very sorry for 
it was only through the old man's kindness that we had found 
shelter after losing everything in the destruction of Belgrade. 
I took it on myself to o ganize his bu ial- In that city of 
destruction it was ha d to do, but we managed to get a coffin, 
and somebody with ho ses to take it to the chu ch, and I o gan- 
ized the funeral se vices, which we e very short They didn't 
even b ing the coffin into the chu ch because he was a Old Believer 
and according to the rules of the chu ch he couldn't have it 
brought in completely. So they brought him to the ent ance and 
said paaye s and then we accompanied his coffin to the cemetery. 

Events started to develop very rapidly then. Ea ly one 

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morning people came banging at ou 1 - doo 1 , shouting 'The Germans 
are coming! 1 You have to put out a white flag because otherwise 
they will start firing at us ! ' I wasn't so anxious, but there 
we e four ladies Mrs. Sobachkov, her servant, Tania and Lusha 
They managed to get one of the bed sheets on a pole and we put 
that in front of ou 1 house. I was looking out the window and I 
saw the Germans passing by ou house, in the 3 motorcycles typ 
ical of the German a~my at that time, one after another. And 
afte* that some tanks passed through, and heavy trucks full of 
soldiers. I didn't want to go out; I just looked through the 
window, feeling in my heart that something was going to happen 
to us very soon and I waan't w ong 

Thus Belgrade was taken over by the Germans Actually the 
Yugoslav army had held out for 18 days afte outbreak of the war, 
since the bombardment of Belgium. But it was impossible to fight 
this modern German a my still drunk with victories in Poland and 
western Europe. 

The German command started to extablish some kind of order 
in Belg ade. Under thei direction, the power station started 
to wo k, electricity was resto ed, and certain st eetcars started 

At the same time eve^-ywhe^e appea ed proclamations p inted 
in both German and Serbian. One stated that everybody had to 
registe^ with the German command at the former police stations 

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scattered all a ound the city. I wasn't in too much of a hurry 
to register. I was debating that matte with Tania, and I said 
We now are outside the city limit, so technically we are not 
obliged to register. On the other hand our former permanent 
domocile is in Belgrade, in that ruined house of ours, in the 
center of the city. Should we go o not? 1 We finally decided 
to go and register, but when we went to the police station we 
saw a very long line of people waiting. There was something 
about the whole thing that I didn't like, and I said 'You know 
what? Let's forget itr let's take ou chances and not register 
Mo eover, if somebody comes to look fo us they won't find us 
because ou house is uined ' 'That is p obably the best thing, ' 
she ag eed. 

So we etu ned to the late Sobashkov's house and continued 
to live there without being egistered. 

Meanwhile, after the egular troops, the Gestapo came, and 
when Se bian patriots started their attacks on the Ge mans, the 
German reprisals we e terrible. Initially for eve y one Ge man 
soldie killed they we e grabbing about 100 people and shooting 

Another te rible thing was that they ordered all the people 
of Jewish descent to egister sepa ately. We had many Jewish 
friends, and when we saw them later on, all wo e the yellow sta r 
of David on the left side of their clothing with the German in- 

"y ; j-i-p^-j 6-: 



scription 'Jew'. I saw a girl who was a good friend of mine and 
Kaye'a working with a g oup cleaning the st eet of debris: I 
tried to talk to her, but when I saw the German soldie s coming 
up I had to leave. Then I saw the bartende< from a famous ba 
in Belgrade, a place which I had f eguented. He was also wee > ing 
a star of David, and wo king in the st eet So the Gestapo 
started doing its wo k. 

I went to the American legation and asked a man in charge 
about Leon Kaye Th ough him I lea ned that Kaye had returned 
to Belgrade and had asked about me, and finally we managed to 
get together. 

Kaye gave me a large amount of money and asked me to help 
him find a little apartment where we could set up ou United Press 
office, though the chances we. e very slim that we would be able 
to send any messages, because Belgrade was under war rest ictions 
But I managed to find an apartment and we used to go there 
together He told me a hai raising sto y of how he managed to 
each a place on the shore of the Adriatic Sea called Budba, 
whe e he met Atherton, Robert St. John, and some othev people. 
They bought a moto boat and he was eady to go to Greece when he 
decided that the ventu e was not for him He was still an 
Ame lean, and America was not at war with Germany r there was no 
need fo him to escape the military, so he decided to etu n to 




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I was of course happy about this, because with him I felt 
mo e protected At his suggestion, I got an Ame ican visa f om 
the acting consul general, because I wo ked for the United P ess 
'If anything happens,.' he said, 'you could leave fo v the United 
States ' 

One day I had a very unpleasant encounter. I bumped into 
the little detective who had provided me with news of the Ge man 
a my etc. "Oh," he said, "you a-e still in Belgrade? I didn't 
know that." "What are you doing?" I asked. "I am still with the 
Yugoslav police" was his eply, and I ealized that he would 
give a repo t on me. I told him what I was doing and he said 
Did you egiste ?' I told him "Well, no, because I live outside 
the city And he said 'Oh well, you'd better register, because 
we consider that you still live in the center of the city ' I 
said 'Well, I work with my boss, whom you know, Leon Kaye. ' 

Anyhow, I felt that from that moment I was going to be unde 
surveillance by German agents, and I was right The results of 
that meeting were evident in a very short time. While the Americans 
we e there, everything was al ightr but one day Leon Kaye told me 
that the acting consul general had tolc" all the Ame i cans to get 
ready to leave Belgrade. 

Chapter 52 Scenario VII 

Kaye told me 'Listen, you have you Ame ican visa, why don't you 

n.t: 1 : 



go with us? 1 I told him 'Well, that's easier said than done, 
because before I can go with you I have to get an exit visa from 
the Yugoslav authorities and that means from the Belgrade city 
police, which is in the hands of the Ge mans I don't want them 
to see me because I know what then could happen to me ' 

He realized that Moreove- there was the question of Tania 
and Lusha acain The Americans had to leave by boat, boarding 
at Belg ade and going up the Danube Rive^ to Budapest I went 
to see off Kaye and our otheo" American friends anr. sadly waved 
goodbye to him as the ship moved out 

When I got home I found everybody pale faced and excited. 
They said, 'Do you know that about an hou ago a Gestapo car 
stopped here and they were asking about you? 1 

I said "Who?" "Well, a German captain with GSP on his 
shoulder sticks (which stood of cou se foi Geheime Staats Polizei, 
01 the military branch of the Gestapo) and a Serbian interpreter. 
They said that they would be back in about an hour. ' 

So, the Germans had waited until the Americans left, and 
we-e now coming to get me While we were talking, a gray car 
pulled up and two men jumped out of it and came into the house 
One of them was the captain of the Geheime Feld Polizei. the 
other was an umpleasant character with shifty eyes who said that 
he was the interp eter 

The man said 'Well are you Mr Albov?' and I said 'Yes ' 
"You have to come with me; I have to talk with you" 'A^e you 

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arres'ing me?' I asked. 'Oh no, 1 he replied "We just have to 
interrogate you. 1 I said. 'Because if I am going to stay over 
night, let me take my little suitcase.' 'No, no, you'll be back 
home before nightfall ' 

So, I said goodbye to Tania, Lusha and M^s. Sobashkov, got 
into the sedan, and off we went. He dvove me to a hotel on Kraje 
Zolotaia Street, which was one of the branches of the military 
b anch of the Gestapo. We went upstairs and in one of the hotel 
rooms there was a typist, the interpreter and the captain, who 
started to interrogate me. He was asking me everything about my 
self from my date of bi th onward, and I had to tell him the story 
of my life in p obably as many details as I have narrated here. 
Everything seemed to *'O smoothly until we reached the period where 
I left the job with the railroad administ ation and got employment 
with Atherton. He said at once 'So you admit that you were work 
ing with Atherton? 1 

'Oh yes,' I said. 'I was wo king with him on his project with 
two English language newspapers, the SOUTH SLAV HERALD and the 

"Oh, I see." and he was a little cooler afte* that 'Didn't 
you know that Atherton was a B itish agent?' 

'No,' I said, 'it couldn't be. because he was a ve y good 
correspondent. ' 

'Oh no, ' he said, 'everybody knows that he was a B itish 

1 1 ' 


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agent, and certainly you knew that, and as far as I am concerned 
we know that you provided him with some intelligence info mation 
too. ' 

I denied this. My German was a little rusty but I didn't 
like the way the inte^-prete was translating my answei s I knew 
that he was making it sound worse than I wanted so I had to co*- 
rect the interpreter. Finally I said 'I don't speak fluent 
German, but I can probably answer your questions better without 
the interpreter. ' But he insisted that I use the interpreter 
So I said 'Alright, when I can't express myself I'll ask him to 
translate it for you, but otherwise I'll t r y to answer the quest 
ion myself. ' 

The interrogation went on and on, all around my connection 
with Atherton, and that my siste worked with them Of course 
I tried to downplay Tania's ole with them completely: 'Well ' I 
said, 'she was a typist there and that's all ' Then I tried to 
switch from Atherton to the United P ess, but he was concentrating 
his interrogation on Atherton, his activities and his beliefs and 
so forth 

'I don't know anything about that. ' I said. 

'Oh you know him very well, ' he said 'You spent all you 
time with him. he entertained you, and you spent several years 
with himr you travelled with him abroad; we know that. We have 
all the information about that ' 



At that point it dawned on me that if Atherton was 'eally 
a B itish intelligence agent then I might really find myself in 
hot water. 

After that, I sta ted to tell him about ray wo k with the 
United P ess. He said 'We have info mation that you have col 
lected some data about the German a my ' 

I said 'No, we didn't collect it purposely? we we e just 
working like all newspaper men. ' 

'Yes, but you particula ly were trying to pry some informa 
tion about the German array. ' 

Finally, after about fou 1 hours I was tired and exhausted 
and emotionally upset. I realized that I was in grave danger 
because appa ently they would try to tie up my case with Atherton. 
who. I ealized by this time, was indeed a British intelligence 
agent. Then it suddenly dawned on me how I ag eed to provide the 
B itish with certain information, and then my connection with 
Wing Commander MacDonald. the ai attache of the B itish Legation, 
who p ovided me with clear cut intelligence information 'Oh oh, 1 
I thought. 'I might be in very g^eat trouble ' 

Finally the interrogation ended 'Al- ight. ' he said 'in 
light of what I have learned about you du ing this intei rogation 
I put you under arrest and you will be sent to the Gestapo deten 
tion point ' 

I told him, 'Listen, I asked you when you came to ou 1 - house 


whether you we^-e going to a^ i-est me and you sale' no. ' 

He said 'Yes but I didn't know at that time everything con 
cerning you Now I see that we have a se -ious case of espionage 
against you ' He called some Gestapo men who grabbed me and took 
me down It was already dark The carewas waiting, and they 
crove me and another man who was al eady waiting in the car to 
the prison 

That Gestapo p ison was actually a cou t detention p ison 
It was a Belgrade cou t with the building which served as a pris 
on. They brought me before the man downstai s and then I saw a 
very ugly picture indeed The men in charge of the prison we e 
Gestapo men ecuited from the German mino ity people in Yugoslavia, 
and these German mino^ ity people had been beaten and some of them 
killed by the outraged Yugoslavs The faces of the head of the 
prison, a Mr. Hahn, and pa ticularly his deputy were still covered 
with bruises, so they were like animals. They ordered me to un 
dress? they checked everything -- fortunately I had left my pass- 
po t with my suitcase -- they emptied my pockets of eve thing and 
then took me upstai s and pushed me into one of the large- cells 

In that cell people were already sleeping on the cone ete 
floo covered w th st aw. When I came there was a little bulb 
burning on the ceiling and the stench of a caniste for human 
waste Th^n several people saic" 'Hello! 1 and I began to ecognize 
people whom I knew socially and in business The^e was the G eok 


2f! . 


S K <-'-- 


consul, my very good friend with whom I had arranged that deal 
about the Greek helmets for the Yugoslav army; the priest of one 
of the Berlgrade churches, a leader of anti-German action who 
had participated in the coup; and a colonel r>hose name, I be 
lieve, was G^anovich who was president of the Society of Y 
Yugoslav Wa veterans. Then there was a p^ofesso of the uni 
versity whom I knew, and a couple of Jewish fellows, one a famous 
publisher and owne of a big booksto'e "Getzakon". That at least 
made me feel much better, for it was an elite group in that cell 

The first night passed without further interrogation. The 
next day they took us fo a walk around the yard. There I m^t 
two mo e p ofesso s of Belgrade University One was Anton 
Bilimovich, whose daughter is still here in the United States. 
She was a teacher at the Defense Lang Institute unde>- my director 
ship, so that I knew that family very well. And there was the 
famous professoi Peter Struve. His son is now professor emeritus 
of the University of California, Berkeley, a famous man in the 
study of Russian literature. Then there was Professor Hlichev, 
whom I knew very well because of my association with a certain 
family of Zeeberg: I believe I mentioned that when I was visiting 
Berlin I visited this family who we e f iends of my uncle Gerassimov 
The e we e three daughters, one of whom, May, ma ried a British 
fellow named Pie ce, at one time one of the di^ecto s of the Royal 
Exchange Assu e. s, where Tanya wo ked before she switched to 



Atherton Anothev siste- also named Tania was mailed to a ce>- 
tain M . Smith, who was involved in some mining business in 
Yugoslavia The thi d and youngest one, Ksenia o^ Kisa I met 
and befriended in Berlin. Well this Hlichev was a good f iend 
of Smith, and p obably was in the Gestapo p ison through guilt by 
association At least I had found some well known people with 
whom I got a chance to talk while walking around within the 
p ison walls. 

Then the^e was a pleasant su prise. At noontime a la ge 
crowd came to the gate of the prison and among them I saw Tania 
and Lusha They had b ought me my little suitcase and some food, 
which was very good because the food in the Gestapo p j son was 
terrible P actically everybody was netting some food from 
friend's and relatives The Gestapo pe mi t ted that kind of aid 
in o dei to save thei expenditure on foor 3 . They even allowed me 
to get my suitcase, without checking it. So at least I got my 
pyjamas, shaving gea-, etc. I was not pe pitted to talk to Tania, 
so I just waved at he>- and at Lusha and they sent me kisses* but 
it lifted my mo ale 

When I eturned to my cell I opened my suitcase and the first 
thing that I saw was my passpo t I immediately realized that I 
had to destroy that passport because it would be an incriminating 
document if it fell into Gestapo hands, due to the B itish and 
American visa on i K . and stamps that evealed all my travels in 



the Balkans and Near East I certainly didn't want the Gestapo 
to question me about these points So I talked to my friends in 
the cell trusted friends and they said 'We will help you 
dest oy that passport ' We weren't sure that there might not be 
a plant in the cell, so we sat in one corner together talking 
only to the people we knew Hiding it f ora everybody else, we 
sta ted to tear the passport into small pieces. It was hard 
because it had a hard cover, but we managed to tear it into rela 
tively small pieces Then somebody said that he had to go to the 
toilet which was at the end of the hallway. When he came back, 
he said that he had managed by flushing two or three times to get 
it down. So I calmed down Then next day a big commotion started 
We saw that plumbers had been brought in, because all the toilets 
had got stuck. I realized that probably it was my passport that 
stopped the drainage They started to clean and ^emove part of 
the pipes etc but fortunately ray passport was mixed up with 
other unpleasant stuff, with which, apparently, even the Gestapo 
didn't want to get involved. So they restored the function of 
the plumbing system, and my passport was destroyed It gave us 
a good laugh. 

Several times we had bad experiences in that prison because 
mo e and more people we e brought in, some of them badly beaten. 
One man was so badly beaten that we didn't know what to do with 
him. We managed to get a bowl to give him some water, etc. He 

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needed medical attention, but our request for it was not fulfilled 
It's alright,' a young Gestapo fellow from the German minority 
told us, 'he's a Serb and he got back what we got from the Serbs. ' 

Now women started to come to the prison. Certain Russian 
ladies were brought whom I knew had been friends of the British. 
A very strange character who was brought in was the famous Ruth 
Mitchell, the sister of the famous General Billy Mitchell She 
had become some kind of ultra-Serbian patriot who started to wear 
some special fancy uniform of the Serbian koraitadji or chetniks. 
as they called them, with the insignia of this along with death 
head and crossbones on a big fur cap. Anyhow, she was arrested 
by the Gestapo. She was a friend of my sister; she played the 
piano well, and sometimes we had visited her in the past. 

Regularly, every day, Tania and Lusha visited me, bringing 
me food, for which I was very grateful. But one day I saw that 
Tania was pale as death. Since she couldn't talk to me, she 
stepped outside so I could see and crossed hands to indicate that 
evidently she was awaitim arrest The next day nobody came to 
the gate at noontime and then the women passed the word to me 
that my siste had been a rested too and was in the same prison 
The women were occupying the first floo and the men were on the 
second So. the next time that we were allowed to walk a ound, 
I looked at the window and saw Tania there The windows we e 
made in such a way that boa ds we e placed in front at a certain 

J6 Jgoibem 6"' 


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angle so that you couldn't see inside the room. You could see 
only a little bit through a little slit between the window and 
that board. In that slit I saw Tania; she waved at me and I at 
her, and I didn't know what to do. So Lusha was apparently left 

Then a little miracle happened as is sometimes the case. 
We had some good friends, two girls brave souls who apparently 
were not afraid of anything who started to come. Lusha must 
have gone to them and told them ou story, fo' they started com 
ing with her to bring us food, cigarettes, etc It was such a 
good gesture, particularly since no one else came to see me. 
being afraid that probably they would compromise themselves, only 
these two gi^ls They were Elochka and Natasha Stakhovich. Actu 
ally it was Elochka, the younger, who was particularly courageous, 
and she helped me through that most critical and difficult period 
in my and Tania 's life. I later saw her again, under different 
circumstances, in Berlin, and was later in correspondence with 
her. The last I heard, she had married and was living in the 
New York area. 

The Gestapo people we e taking me for interrogation. They 
would call me, then I would un down the stairs, they would push 
me into a small Gestapo car, and d^ive me beyond the city limits 
to thei- interrogation center in an old Yugoslav army barracks 
This interrogation was different from the first one Then it had 

rip, fj 

. ; 

fi'.'d ir-rf:i 

k ?^5 




23w nc 


been by only one GFP capped man now it was by five of them 
Chapter 53 Scenario VII 

I was ushered into a room; there were five men sitting at 
table, and I was ordered to set facing them. They were all in 
uniform with GFP on their epaulettes (Geheime Feldpolizei, o the 
Gestapo branch in the armed service.) They were very rude and 
coldr they all looked at me with piercing eyes; there was of course 
an interpreter They had lots of paper in front of them, appa 1 - 
ently my dossier, which they studied. Without any preliraina ies 
they started shooting questions at mer it was like being under a 
crossfi-e. Everything centered on Terence Atherton's attitude. 
At that moment I realized too late of course why, du ing 
the bombardment of Belgrade, Atherton had been so insistent on 
asking me and my siste- to leave Belgrade with himr to t?y to 
escape and not to fall into the hands of the Ge mans I hadn't 
realized what a terribly dangerous game I was playing. 

They were asking me point blank such questions as 'Are you 
a British secret agent? 1 when something very dange ous happened: 
They asked me in German whether I was with the British ttachrichten 
Dienst. Unfortunately my knowledge of German was not deep enough 
to fully understand the meaning of that word. I misunderstood and 
thought they were asking me about the news service, while nach- 
richten Dienst in German means espionage or collection of intelli- 

/>' ;; vino Y^ *"*'* *" 




=> i e -^ 


' ' 




/- I. M.3 r 


gencel I very cooly and calmly answered that question, 'No, I 
was not with the British N D I was with the Ame ican N D ' That 
statement of mine caused them to jump upr they shouted at me. par 
ticularly one pudgy man who was sitting in the cente , evidently 
the chief interrogator. He pointed a finger at me and said 'So. 
you have admitted that you wo ked for the American nachrichten 
Dienstl * Then I ealized that something had gone very wrong, and 
I said 'Wait a second, you p obably misunderstood me. I wo ked 
fo the United P ess ' and I tried to explain; 'United Press is 
something like you newspaper agency D N B Deutsche 
Nachrichten Bu o. The e is a different meaning in these two wo ds; 
one, N D is intelligence o espionage se vice, while Nachrichten 
Bu o is a newspaper agency, 1 But they didn't want to listen: they 
wei e only shouting at me 'So you have admitted he e in front of 
all of us and the interprete that you wo ked fo the American 
N Dl 1 At that moment I eally felt very bad. I thought, what a 
stupid thing to have happen to mel I tried again to explain, with 
out any result. On that note, they abruptly stopped the interro 
gation and o de ed me to be taken by the guard back to the cell in 
the p- ison at the center of the city 

In the car, there was a driver a Gestapo officer next to him, 
and a Gestapo soldie next to me. It was an open car and we we e 
d iving on the main st eets of Belg ade. I saw many familiar 
faces and particularly, one of my best friends. This frien^ looked 

! 9 

j :i iv 

s! ,-/:! >.fSj s 





for a second then seeing me in the car unde r guard, tu ned his 
face away so that I wouldn't nod o 1 make any gesture I wouldn't 
have anyway, but that was a kind of shocking experience. I thought 
'So my best friends won't recognize me anymo e because I am a 
Gestapo p isone . ' Natu ally, he wanted to p otect himself and 
his family. 

The o were lots of people walking on the st eetsr life was 
going on in Belgrade. Then, a most evolting scene met my eyes 
when we we e passing by the heavily bombed royal palace in the 
center of the city One of the cupolas of the palace was torn 
off from the roof and had fallen in the middle of the beautiful 
garden facing the street. It b ought to my memo y that pre-war 
time when I used to like to stop there and join the c>-owd waiting 
at 11 oclock to see the changing of the guard, while the band 
played. Now the palace was in uins. and I saw a German soldier 
sitting before an easel, painting a picture of the blown up 
cupola with the royal crown lying in th> middle of the palace 
ga den How is it possible I thought, that Germany, the land of 
Heine Goethe, Moza t. Schubert Schuman, Wagner and Bach, could 
change so much? how could they fall so low as to each this point 
of being barbarians, of even painting the picture of i;he esults 
of thei ba barism? Anyhow, that was a thought that passed 
through my mind as we we* e d iving back to the p ison 

When I ^etu-ned, my cellmates asked me how the inter > ogation 

'Tl >'*?> P. 


had gone I didn't want to tell them too much, so I just said 
'Well it wasn't too goodr it wasn't very pleasant ' Appa ently 
I looked very downhea ted, so they left m alone I was really 
upset I knew that I couldn't communicate with Tania who was 
one floo below But she must have known 'hat I had been taken 
fo inter ogation, for when we sta ted to walk she looked very 
anxiously for a few seconds at me I just waved to her^and then 
again waited P esumably she had got food but she couldn't 
sha e with me I had missed this lunchtimr when usually food was 
brought by Elochka Stakhovich and Lusha. but I was su e that Tania 
was able to get it so that made me happier 

The days we>-e passing without any pa ticula events In 
that little suitcase I had got from Tania before she was a ested,. 
besides my passpo t, there was quite a lot of money, which had 
been given to me by Leon Kaye befo e he departed f-ora Belgrade. 
So financially I was al ight, as far as Yugoslav dina s we e con- 
ce ned, I had plenty of them 

Then one mo ning I hea d shouting in the yard and saw that 
a large g oup of people had been brought into the ya d excep 
tionally well d essed people Later on, while walking a ound the 
yard the only means we had of contact with the othe a we 
lea ned that those people we e the membe 1 s of the Yugoslav embassy 
in Be lin While t-avelling through Ge many unde the eyes of 
foreigners, they travelled in style with sleeping ca riages. etc 






r . : 





But the moment they crossed the Yugoslav bo der they we e arrested 
and dragged into the Gestapo pi son The Gestapo didn't recognize 
them as diplomats, only as enemies of the Ge man egime So ou 
c owd got some new members, fo me 1 ' members of the diplomatic se - 
vice in Ge many 

One mo ning, the doo was opened and two big husky Gestapo 
men called my name and said that I should take ray suitcase and 
'schnell, schnell 1 (fast fast) go immediately. I didn't even 
have a chance to say goodbye to my friends Goinc. through the 
yard I managed to tu n around and see Tania, who was looking at 
me with te. ro in her face. 

At the doo of the p ison, the e was a big city bus waiting 
with th ee Gestapo officers and a d iver. They just orde ed me 
to get in, and the bus sta ted moving- I couldn't ask any ques 
tions of course, anything. Then I noticed that we were going in 
the direction of my former alma mater the law school of the 
Unive sity of Belgrade, and across the squae there was the forme 
Yugoslav police detention center. According to the rumo a that 
had eached us, that was the place where the Germans executed 
thei p isone s. My heart sank 'So, ' I thought, 'apparently 
they have decided to kill me ' When the bus came to a stop I 
was ea y to be taken out of it but they didn't orde me f^om it 
Instead I sat, waiting, and finally they brought f om the prison 
five young fellows. They we. e in civilian clothes About 20 to 25 


years of age, and they talked in Slovenian, sometimes mixed with 
Italian They were o v de^ed to sit sepa ately om me; I was sit 
ting mo e in the back. Then they started loading into the back of 
the bus some produce the e was flou , and hams, and all kinds 
of preserves all looted from the Yugoslavs Then five office s 
I ecognized two who had interrogated me and the d ive~ . all of 
them with pistols and the d' iver and a sergeant also with sub 
machine guns, took their places in f^ont and wa ned us not to talk. 
Then the bus started We c ossed the Sava on a pontoon b idge 
which the Ge mans had laid to eplace the pe manent bridges blown 
up by the Se^bs. then went through to Zemun and started moving 
fast on the main oad in the direction of Zagreb, d iving all the 
while except fo a sho t stop to get gas from the milita y tanks 

At one point they got some b ead and a sausage and cut it 
into six pieces, that is five pieces for the five civilians and 
one for me and six pieces of b^ead, and th ew it back to us 
they didn't qive it to us saying 'That's for you to eat ' So 
each of us got a piece of sausage and black bread. We d ove prac 
tically all day long and finally reached Zag- eb. We didn't stop 
there long, but continued farther north, into the beautiful al 
pine a ea of Slovenia Finally we came to the city of Ljubljana 
o old time Laibach unde'- the Aust o-Hunga ian Erapi e the main 
city of Slovenia I knew Ljubliana quite well and I liked the 
city very much. I had visited it many times and had always 


/5 3lO 3 S>~ 



stayed in the best hotels and estau ants Ljubljana was occupied 
by the Italians, and the Ge mans we e asking some auestions and 
finally cached the detention camp where the Italians kept thei 
prisone s We came to that place, and afte some talks between 
the Ge mans and Italian officers, the five young fellows were 
taken out of the bus and handed over to the Italians Somehow 
I lea ned that the Italians conside ed them as deserte s because 
although of Yugoslav o igin, they lived in parts of Italy with 
Slavic population. So the Germans a rested them as dese ters and 
handed them over to the Italians After that oui bus with five 
officers, two soldie s, the driver and the other with the sub 
machine gun, and myself, turned into the city 

We stopped in front of the famous hotel where I had stayed 
in the good old times, and the Germans asked me one ernes tion: 
'Do you have any money?' I said 'Yes. I do. ' 'Then you can come 
with us and have dinne* ' I did not look very presentable since 
acco ding to p ison p actice. my shoe laces tie and belt had been 
taken away, so I had to walk holding up my pants, and I was un 
combed and unshaven, and felt dirty They we e esplendant of 
course in thei unifo'TOS. and in that company we went into that 
restauiant Immediately, I recognized one of the waiters and 
the ma jo domo of the hotel, whom I knew They looked at me 
with ala m in thei faces. They realized that I was a Gestapo 
p isone . One look at me was sufficient to show that I did not 

ifs: I 






belong to the rest of the party. Howeve- in o de to keep me 
unde constant observation, they put me at the same table with 
them; they warned me not to exchange any wo ds with anyone, but 
just to o de my meal So we o de^ed ou^ meals? they were joking 
and talking and so fo^th, and I was hung y, so I ate This meal 
was very pleasu able? I gave a big tip to the waiter and shook 
his hand, and he looked very sadly at me when they took me back 
to the bus. 

Again we we -e on the move, and after a time we entered a 
very mountainous a ea and came to the former Yugoslav bo der with 
Aust ia. At the border tne e were Austrian troops unde Ge man 
command r they were mountain troops with edelweiss on thei caps, 
this mountain flowe insignia We stopped at a little tave n at 
that border place whe^ e they permitted me to o- der ber whilst 
they had bee 1 for themselves They then d ove fa^the^ into the 
mountains. It was al eady dusk as we we e descending from the 
mountains, when something very siniste happened They stopped 
the bus nea a little brook and an open field and o de ed me to 
get out I stepped out and they o- de ed me to go toward the 
brook where there was some unde brush Behind me I hea^d the 
clicking of submachine guns 'Well' I thought 'this is p obably 
the end They probably will liquidate me he e. Well I was scaled 
as any human being would be, but I tried to play the ole of being 
brave, and walked very deliberately and very slowly toward this 



little b ook. Then they started to laugh and some one shouted 'Now 
you can relieve you self therel 1 That was a Gestapo joke on me 
'Well,' I thought, 'I will etnembe- that.' Afte- relieving myself 
I etu ned to the bus and we continued driving 

Afte it was al eady dark, we came to a town I believe 
it was Klagenfurt. We stayed there fo 1 a short time then contin 
ued, and at about 3 oclock in the mo ning came to Graz a compara 
tively large city in Austria, not far from the Yugoslav borde^ 
While d iving through thevsubu bs. one of the senio Gestapo offi 
ce s suddenly add essed me and said 'You know this is ou home 
land? we are in the Austrian Ty ol This is whe e we we e bo n 
and where our families live We are going on leave and we invite 
you to be ou guest here ' I was so surprised I could hardly 
believe my ears. I somehow said 'Thank you, I appreciate that,' 
o something like that. Then they said 'We are also b inging to 
our families some gifts, ' and he pointed at the back of the bus, 
which as I said befo e was loaded with things from Belgrade. 

They d ove through the streets asking the way, and finally 
d ove to a house There was an open gate; they d ove the bus in 
side and o 1 de ed me to get out, and I found myself in the G az 
p ison It was an old Austrian p ison. They still appa ently 
followed the fo^rae- p ison egime, so they took down my name made 
a meticulous invento y of all ray possessions and o dered me to a 
showe v oom. 

r * 


Chapter 54 Scenario VII 

The shower I took was the fi st since I was arrested in 
Belgrade several weeks before, and I felt physically much better 
afterward. I felt clean, and I managed to shave I was taken to 
a cell, and was surprised to find out that it was a room with eal 
beds with straw mattresses, and even bod sheets, pillows and blank 
ets- I was amazed and pleasantly surprised, especially afte^ liv 
ing for several weeks unde" c- owded conditions and sleeping on a 
concrete floo barely covered with straw. 

This was what my guards had called being their "guest" Any 
how, whateve" the situation was. I oalized that this p ison was 
much bette- than what I had experienced in Belgrade and I thanked 
God fo that At least I would not stay the e fo eve fo~ they 
had said they were coming he e fo"- an U \laub_ (vacation) . How long 
that vacation would last and what they would do with me after that 
I didn't know. 

My oommates in that prison cell I found to be a Hungarian 
count, a pleasant young fellow, who spoke beautifully English, 
F-ench and German, in addition to his own Hungarian, and a p of es- 
so at the Unive sity of Ljubljana, a very intelligent man There 
we e only th-ee of us in that -oom, and each one of us had his own 
bed an inc edible thing fo r me and a vc y pleasant one The 
three of us became ve~y f iendly with r-ach othe and ve y happy 
as much as one could be in p ison for each of us had experienced 

?3 i-5 





much worse when we we e arrested by the Gestapo initially We 
asked our jailers if we could have playing ca^ds, and to ou sur 
prise they said 'Yes, you can ' So we had playing cards, and the 
Hungarian count taught us how to play a game for two; so two 
played and one watched. 

Being in prison gave me lots of time to think of what had 
happened before. Pi st of all lying in bed, I ealized that the 
situation was thist Tania and I had been arrested; we were both 
in Gestapo p isons Tania was still in Belgrade; I had been 
brought here to G az and Lusha was still outside Then I started 
going over the interrogations and b oke out in a cold sweat, fo 
suddenly I remembered something which I had not paid attention to 
p eviously It was this: When the Gestapo interrogated me in 
Belg ade in addition to accusing me of being a B itish spy, as 
suppo ting evidence for that they asked me ' Did you ever use a 
so-called Dach name?' A Dach name was a cover name I ealized 
that they were probably ref e ring to my telephone conve sat ions 
with the British Ai force attache, Wing Commander Macdonalc, in 
which I had used the assumed name MacMair. Had they really 
found out about that? At first I couldn't figu e how on ea th 
they had learned of it, and then I emetnbe ed something As I 
said before we had in our apartment an extra room which we usu 
ally ented too someone Mostly it was either my B itish or 
Ame ican friends r once it was to an elderly British lady who spent 

ff ' 

'Y ' 




' .. '4So 


a couple of months with us After she left. George Kidd, my for- 
mei boss, and his wife stayed with us before moving into a hotel 
Then Ames, also an American, and his wife. He b ought with him 
samples of telephone listening and v eco ding devices which he 
t ied to sell and he made the best possible contacts with the 
Yugoslav government at that time Next we rented out room to a 
Russian couple named Vladyshev He was a big husky fellow and 
his wife was a daughter of a famous professor of Belgrade University, 
Lebedev. They we^ e recently ma ried and wet e happy to stay with 
us The only thing that bothered me a little was that she worked 
with the Italian embassy Upon the outbreak of war, she and her 
husband left us: whe e they went, I did not know 

Now I ecalled one occasion when X wanted to share some of 
my news that was al eady sent by United P ess to New York with ray 
B itish friends I fo got the precaution and called from my home, 
and the telephone in ou apartment was in the hallway which also 
led to the doo of the oora. still occupied at the time by this 
couple, the Vladyshevs Calling the B itish Embassy f om ou 
apartment was a stupid thing, because Wing Commander MacDonald 
had warned me not to do that; I also identified myself as MacNai 
And I now emembered that at that point, the doo from the oom 
occupied by the Vladyshev couple had opened and he passed by, 
looking straight at me on his way to the bathroom nearby Putting 
all that together, I began to wonder whethe^ it was he who had 

V or 



denounced rae to the Gestapo. Later on I lea ned that one of his 
friends a certain Lanin. also a Russian f om Belgrade, was a 
Gestapo info mer So it might be that this Vlanyshev had epo ted 
that to Lanin. 

Of course I never lea ned the real truth about how the 
Gestapo had lea ned about my using that cove name MacNai Per 
haps my telephone was tapped, as I had not taken the p ecautions 
advised by ray British friends. Well I was wo ried about that as 
I knew that this was not the end of my imp isonment and that I 
would have to face the music at a later date 

The day after my arrival at G az I was taken out with other 
p isone s for a walk in the prison yard The e, to my amazement, 
I saw a familiar face. It was my friend Ge asiraov not to be 
confused with my uncle Gerasimov with whom I had been in the 
same gymnasium in Odessa. He was one g ade senio to me. but we 
wo e good friends Late on, we had met in Belg ade, whe e he 
had wo ked with the P ench Wagonlits Company Afte 1 the captu e 
of Belgrade by the Germans, before I was a rested by thf Gestapo, 
I met him and he told me that he was planning to go to Paris by 
train, because already Eu ope was in Ge man hands Now I was 
very surprised to find him here. We kind of waved at each othe 
and managed to position ou selves so that he was walking in front 
of me and he was telling me the story He said that he boa ded 
the train for Paris al ight, but as soon as the train reached 

'"" ' ' <V3 S B'.'f 








Ge man territory he was taken off and put in this p ison in Graz, 
and he did not know what was going on He was interrogated 
seve al times about his French connections but otherwise he just 
didn't know what was going on He was pretty much upset about the 
whole thing Well. I told him my sto y, not the whole story of 
cou se that I was unde suspicion of being a spy I didn't 
want to tell that to anybody 

We continued ou life in that prison and I still didn't know 
how long I was going to remain the e Meanshile, the company was 
good: That young Hungarian count and the professor from Ljubljana 
University we o both well educated people, and we talked about 
many interesting things in seve al languages And strangely 
enough, the food was good in this Austrian prison There was 
soup, and bread, and sometimes one could find a piece of meat in 
the soup; it was very unusual not comparable with the miserable 
food which they had given us in Belgrade. There, I had survived 
only because of the help of Lusha, who was bringing food for me 
and Tania 

Well after a week, they opened the cell doo and called me 
telling me to get my suitcase and coat and leave I said goo<?bye 
to ray f iends in the cell and was taken down and there I saw the 
same Gestapo officers who had b ought me there Apparently they 
had visited their families, and given them the gifts they had 
brought from Yugoslavia, because the bus was empty. They were in 





a little better mood and evidently thei hearts were a little 
softe^ af te visiting their families, and they even sta ted to 
talk to me But I became very cautious because once they mentioned 
the name of a f o ma Russian general, asking me if I knew him. 
Without thinking much, I said 'Yes, I knew him well ' Then another 
man cut into ou conversation and said 'Oh, that is very inte est- 
ingr that fits the pattern because that friend of yours, that for 
me Russian general was a ep esentative of Standard Oil Co , and 
we know that he had British connections too, like you had ' Well 
of course I shut up then, and got dep essed. 

We t avelled farthe north? again I didn't know the destina 
tion and I didn't have the courage to ask them Then we came to 
Vienna Again it was late at night, about 2 or 3 o'clock, and it 
was auite a feeling to oil through the st eets of that beautiful 
city which I knew before this calamity and had liked so ve y much. 
We went through the downtown area and finally entered the big 
Vienna p ison, the Polizeigefangnis, or police prison, now com 
pletely taken over by the Gestapo. It was an old established 
Austrian p ison, with almost the same strict routine as in Graz. 
Once again I was stripped naked, and forced to walk while they 
tried to find whethe I had hidden anything in my clothing Then 
I was pe mitted to d ess and was taken up a metal stai case to 
the 3 d o 4th floo They we e opening and closing the grilled 
doo s and finally we came to a big hallway with a row of cells 

''-!' ! 





which were closed. They opened a cell, pushed roe in and locked the 
doo behind me Here I found myself in a situation simila to 
what I had expe ienced in Belgrade. In spite of the fact that the 
room was of a pretty large size, it was filled with people There 
was p actically no place to step; people we e lying on thin mat 
tresses, on the floor, two o three to a mattress, and the ai' 
smelled of unclean human bodies I realized that this was it; 
that I would need all my CD u age, all my spiritual strength, to 
withstand my expe ience in that p ison At the moment they 
pushed me into that room I didn't even see a place wherr I could 
sit, let alone lie down I sust stood there afraid to move for 
fea 1 I would step on someone But someone pulled at my trouse' 
leg and made a little space for me and I managed to squeeze my 
self between two people and to est I didn't est long, because 
two hou s later, at 5 oclock, we we' o awakened by a loud banging 
on the doo i signalling that we must all un to wash I didn't 
know that we had to ' un but because the 1 e we e only about ten 
faucets and the population of our room that day was about thirty, 
only some of them managed to get washed. The rest of them in 
cluding me, did not, that fi st day fo 1 - me in the Vienna prison. 

Chapte 55 Scena io VII 

After the unsuccessful attempt to wash myself early in the 
morning, I returned to the large, but crowded cell The popula- 



56 ; 



' ":* 




tion of that room du ing my long stay in prison was never cons 
tant; it fluctuated f^om 18 people to a maximum, once, of about 
33 or 34 It was tolerable when we r emained below 20 o 1 - 25, but 
over that it was very hard; we we- e crowded in like sardines 
It was especially difficult at night; there we e not enough mat- 
t esses to put on the floo for everyone to lie on. The first 
day when we retu ned from the washroom, we had to pick up all the 
matt esses and pile them one on another along the wall After 
doing that they b ought some b -ooms to clean the room with, and 
while people did that, I began to see the faces abound me The 
population of this room was a motley crowd 

Well, it is a kind of rule of nature that you g avitate to- 
wa-d you own peers There were such people thei-e The e was 
a famous lawye of Yugoslavia named Bechanovich. an old man now 
He was famous for being one of the leade s of the C oat movement 
under Aust ia-Hungary du ing Wo Id Wa I, dreaming of the unifi 
cation of the South Slavs He had been one of the signers of 
the declaration of Co fu, which was issued after the collapse of 
Aust ia-Hungary, when all the South Slavs decided to unite into 
a sepa ate entity, initially called the Kingdom of Se bs, C oats 
and Slovenes, later Yugoslavia. Representative* of those th ee 
nationalities, including Bechanovich, had met at Corfu and signed 
this declaration 

Another cellmate had been the Polish consul general in 

7 i i er 

a .r. . . 



Vienna. Poland, having again been divided between the Soviet 
Union and Germany, had ceased to exist as a sepa ate independent 
state, so the Poles we 1 e t eated like criminals He was a mild 
softspoken man, highly educated with a knowledge of several 

There was also a di ector of the Wagonlits Company in Yugo 
slavia, with his headguai te s in Zag eb, so I had the opportunity 
to talk to him and Bechanovich in the Se>bo-C oatian language 

Another interesting man was a forma 1 cavalry guard captain 
Rittmeister, they called it of the former Aust 1 o- Hungarian 
Empi e and at one time the personal aide of the former Emperor of 
Aust ia. Why he was in this p ison I couldn't figure out; p^obab- 
ly he didn't agree to submit to the Nazis when they took ove^ 
Aust ia and Czechoslovakia. 

Then the-e we e some adical intellectuals from Yugoslavia 
and othe places, and members of the Inte national B igade who 
hac" fought in the Spanish civil war in Spain 

Also there we e just old jailbi ds thieves bandits, etc 
As I said, it was a motley c^owd, and I learned to study the 
behavio pattern of these people. It was an in e eating thing: 
Fi st of all. the e was one unifying force among us which was 
that we ht.d to band together against the autho ities of K he p i- 
son, against the Nazis, and t y ou best to su vive unde any 
circumstances It was a matter of su vival because the food that 



- JOA- 

we we e getting in p ison was obviously insufficient to give us 
a healthy life ove any sustained period of time We were getting 
e satz coffee water colo ed with something b own we we e get 
ting soup with a few pieces of potato and only one day a week, on 
Sunday, would we get either a piece of meat of of sausage in that 
soup: and we cot a little piece of bread. B ead was the main 
solid food that we cot all day long. I ealized that to su vive 
I would need all my effort? I would need to do everything possible 
to t y to keep well mentally and physically I knew that this 
was the final destination, pa ticularly since I ha d learned from 
people al eady a rested in that room that Vienna was the Gestapo 
center for Southeastern Eu ope, and that the most serious cases 
for the Gestapo we-e b 1 ought up in that center to be interrogated 
in Vienna. So appa ently I was considered a serious case, having 
been b ought all the way from Belgr : ide. 

I decided that, fi st of all, in o de not to get diso ien- 
tated; in o de not to get panicky o downhea ted I had to estab 
lish a st ict routine. I lea ned my lesson about the wash oom 
the first day, so the next day and th ough my whole stay in 
that p ison, I was always among the first to rush to the wash- 
oom to be able to wash myself with wate from the faucets I 
hadn't washed my whole body for a long time In the Belg ade 
Gestapo p ison we didn't have any oppo tunity to wash, and I 
felt te ible; di ty, itchy, and smelly. So I asked people 'Is 


>1 -?v: 

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the e any way to wash he e? 1 and they said 'Yes- once a week o 
twice a month they will take us to the showe s downstairs ' Well 
as far as ray daily outine was concerned, afte getting washed, I 
would come to the window and look th ough the heavy ba>s into the 
cou>tyard. Fo tunately, we we e on the top floor of the p ison, 
so that beyond the wall su rounding the courtyard down below, 
I could see the sky over Vienna, and in the distance, the spi e 
of Saint Stephen's cathed al. And eveiy morning I p ayed hard, 
as p obably I had never p ayed befo e in my life, while looking 
at the distant c oss on the spi e of Saint Stephen's. After that 
I would do some vigo ous calisthenics. Without paying attention 
to anybody else, I would stand soraewhe e so that I wouldn't inter 
fere with other people, take off my shirt, and do all possible 
calis.thenics that I knew to keep ray body well trained. Then we 
would usually walk, waiting fo: moaning ersatz coffee to be 
brought, and b ead. 

B ead was the most impo tant thing. Each of us had to keep 
that b>ead somewhe e. I kept mine in one of my handkerchiefs and 
you had to keep it always unde close observation, because people 
we e stealing bread. It was especially ter ible du ing the night, 
when I would hea somebody sneaking about, t ying to get bread 
from anothe fellow who was asl ep, usually d ageing it out urvdair 

his coat, which usually served as a pillow since we d dn't get 
any pillows o blankets. There we^ e ugly scenes when some of 

Y5W v 



the thieves, bandits o old jail bi ds t ied to s eal b ead from 
othe. people and got beaten up, with cursing and shouting which 
inte fe<ed with ou sleep. 

Another thing that was te ribly depressing and frightening 
was the moaning of human beings being to tined somewhere down in 
the basement of the Gestapo p ison. I think the is nothing nuv e 
te-> rifying than the c. ies of despaii and pain of people being tor- 
tu ed, and it was so loud that we were like scared animals walking 
a ound listening to it It was pa ticularly te rifying to hear 
the crying, sc earns and howling of to tured women, and we p son- 
e s we e listening to that Every night about midnight apparently 
the e we e inte rogations going on down on the lowe floo s and 
the shouting could be heard th ougbout the enti e p ison 

Ou pastime du ing the day was very limited. The e was 
nothing to dor just talk to each other, o walk a ound the room, 
but when there we e around 30 people the e was no place to walk. 
and barely a place to sit down on the concrete floo The'-e we e 
two tables with benches, something like what you see in the United 
States in a picnic grounds, and on a otation basis we sat on 
these benches and then walked, giving time to othe people to sit. 

The; e was a certain code among the old jailbirds/ the expe 1 - 
ienced c minals to whom p ison was a familia place almost like 
thei own home. They knew all the thicks, all the communication 
systems The communications system was inredible: We had a flush 
toilet in ou room and somehow through the pipes leading to that 

If?..'. ' 

Rrr.-i : 

,tfi j-001 


toilet, we could communicate with other rooms, o cells Not I, 
of cou se, but these old expe ienced jailbirds knew how to get 
the latest news, even the names of people who had come to the 
pi ison One day they told me that they lea ned that someone from 
Belgrade had come to the p ison, one woman and a man whom I had 
known in the Belgrade prison. 

Another thing was cigarettes In Belgrade, when Tania knew 
that she was going to be a rested, she had managed to bring me 
my suitcase with clothing and all my things that eventually I 
managed to save. Of course it was immediately taken away from 
me when we came to the Vienna prison and stored In it was a 
carton of cigarettes, a p ecious possession which I had no pos 
sibility to obtain. Unde~ these conditions, cigarettes we 1 e 
t emendously desirable and everybody was t ying to get them 
The old jailbi <?s o ganized a system to get cigarettes They got 
them from other jailbirds assigned to clean the hallway nea 
the cells, so under the doo of our cell there was a carved out 
little hole through which sometimes the cleaning pa ty that was 
cleaning the hallway pushed a few cigarettes These cigarettes 
we>e smoked in a ritual, each one a few puffs or so and then 
around through the entire c^owd. People who we^e taken to inte^- 
rogation with the Gestapo usually used to b ing back some cigar 
ettes too 

Our trouble was matches We didn't have any and we didn't 


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any and we didn't have the possibility to save the ciga ettes am* 
to st ike the match There again I lea>ned an inte esting trick, 
how to manage smoking without lighting matches One experienced 
jailbi d told us that he would teach us how to make matches that 
couj.d be ignited anytime Everyday we we e getting the Ge man 
p opaganda newspape the Nazi party publication Volkische 
Beobachte? . There was some p opaganda but the e was also som 
news, so it was interesting reading Well, he told us to put 
this newspape on the cone ete f loo , then he asked us who would 
voluntee> to give his handkerchief. I said I would give ray hand 
kerchief 'That's fine, 1 he said, and took it. Next he said 'I 
need only one match, because I have to burn you 1 handkerchief ' 
So again through their communication system, via the toilet pipes 
etc. , wo d was sent that we needed a match and somehow we managed 
to get one Then he struck that match and burned my handkerchief 
over the VOlkische Beobachte , spread on the f loo The handker 
chief burned until there we e just ashes left Then he started 
looking around and finally he came to the table with the benches 
and managed to b<eak off a little piece of wood and to find one 
nail. Next, he masterfully managed to put that nail inside the 
piece of wood so it was firmly embedded in it Then positioning 
himself over the newspape on which there we^ e the ashes of my 
burned handkerchief, he sta ted to strike the piece of wood with 
a nail in it on the concrete floor. Sparks started to fly and 

t ' r 



! . i 6 f 






began falling on the ashes which started to glow, and f om these 
ashes he lit up a cigarette It was a great discove y So who- 
eve had a cigarette t ied that and it always wo ked After that 
we would w ap up the ashes carefully in a newspaper and sto e it 
away somewhere, so that during the checkup of the oora the Gestapo 
agents wouldn't find it 

I mentioned that to go unde* the showe was a ve^y great 
event fo me, because I was so di ty However the e were five of 
us under one showe and time was ve>y sho t so we just had to go 
th ough the outine of washing, using the same piece of soap 
But I still managed to wash myself. Then I discovered something 
that puzzled and ala raed me. I discove ed that there was some 
thing on my genitals a little growth on the tip of my penis 
I had washed very thoroughly to get rid of all the dirt which had 
accumulated during those many weeks of imprisonment, but it con 
tinued to bother me, so I decided one day to ask for medical at 
tention. Fo doctors' call we had to make the request early in 
the mo n ing, then at about ten oclock in the mo ning those who 
asked for sick call we e taken from the cell and placed outside 
the cell doo , so I was among them The docto came and was 
asking people what their complaints we e. When he came to me I 
told him that I noticed that appa ently because of contact with 
terribly di ty toilet seats the e was some kind of g owth ap- 
peqring on the head of my penis He looked at that and then he 


HW ' 

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looked several mo e times and said 'Oh it is an interesting case, 
we will send you to the hospital for study. ' When I would go 
there I didn't know but I *etu ned to the cell and people were 
joking not very nice jokes that I had had the courage to show 
my genitals to a epi-esentative of the nazi ' egime 

Chapte- 56 Scenario VII 

The next day I was taken to the ba be shop where I was 
shaved I got permission, accompanied by the guard, to take a 
showe again and also to get to my suitcase and to get clean 
unde weai-. This was also quite int iguing for me after so many 
long weeks I was ala raed about the situation with my genitals: 
that the little growth looked like a wa t and was g owing It 
was at first barely visible, but now I noticed that it was grow 
ing, ^-esembling a wa-t ov mole Anyway, I changed my underwear 
and was b ought back to my cell, and then shortly afte* that I 
was called and told that I was to be taken to the hospital. 

After a relatively long time accompanied by a Gestapo guard, 
I found myself in a medical institution. The^e was lots of talk 
etc. ; the gua d had a little note from my doctor which was read 
there the>-e was discussion, and I had to wait I waited and 
waited, and finally I was b ought into a typical classical medical 
auditorium. The e we e quite a few people sitting around on the 
benches and I was standing in the middle with the doctor in white 

TJ ' ~>n Jr. 

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s tending next to me. He o de ed me to take off my pants and show 
my genitals. Then, with his ubber gloves, he was taking my penis 
in one hand and with the othe giving some kind of medical explan 
ation to some doctors and also some medical students, ouite a few 
of them, including women Well, it was the most grotesrme humili 
ation, but I had no other choice but to follow orders. And then 
the individual doctors, including two women doctors, came close 
to me, looked at that growth on my penis, and were discussing it 
They didn't ask me any questions, and they were talking in medi 
cal terras. Finally when it was over I asked the doctor what kind 
of medicine I'd get 'Oh, 1 he said, ' the e is nothing to be 
ala med at, it is a very simple case ' He again gave some explan 
ation, 'It is caused by di t. We will give you a powder which you 
nave to put on you penis twice a day, in mo ning and evening, and 
in a sho t time that g owth will just d y up and fall off. 1 And 
that was t ue, but it was so idiculous and so humiliating to go 
ove that it is ha d to describe However afte many years have 
passed I now have only to laugh at that experience, but at that 
time it was grotesque and humiliating and made me mad. 

After I had dressed, the guard took me back to the car, and 
when we we e d iving I asked him if I could stop and get some cig 
arettes I p omised him that upon etum I would get to my things 


whe-e my money was it was Yugoslav and would somehow compen 
sate him He was a nice fellow, appa ently somebody who wasn't 





">?? ir. 

- / 



p o-Nazi. He told me, "Don't you wo y, I'll buy you some cigar 
ettes, but be very careful, because when we come back they will 
ce tainly sea ch you for whatever you bring with you " So he 
taught me where to put the cigarettes He said "Put them under 
the collar of your jacket, and put them into the folding of your 
pants, down at the shoe level. Those are the only places where 
you might smuggle these cigarettes . " So we stopped and he went 
with me to the cigarette shop and bought some cigarettes. After 
we were in the car, I carefully put them where he had instructed, 
and then we came back to the prison and I thanked him for his 
kindness There, of course the prison guards started to sea ch 
mo but I dist' acted them by showing them the medicine that I was 
carrying with me from the doctor, and also the note to the local 
prison doctor, so they were satisfied with that and didn't look 
under my collar or in the cuff of my pants When I came back to 
ou prison cell, there was g eat jubilation when I started to 
pull out ciga ettes f-orn behind my collar and ray pants and give 
(-.hem to all the people there We managed to get smokes for a 
couple of days with that supply of cigarettes 

Finally, one day, my time came to be called for interrogation. 
The interrogation was carried out in the Gestapo headomarte.rsin 
one of the best hotels in the center of the city of Vienna. Ou 
prison was not far away, and appa ently the Germans didn't want 
to waste gasoline carrying prisoners, so I walked to that hotel. 



1 X O T 


accompanied sometimes by one, sometimes by two guards. At the 
hotel entrance there was a close scrutiny of the passes that my 
gua-d p oduced they looked at me and so fo th, and finally I 
was taken to one of the apa tments occupied by my interrogator. 
Later on I lea ned that his name wars Herr Graf. He was sitting 
by the desk and his secretary was sitting next to him He didn't 
offer me a seat, and there was no chair positioned in such a way 
that I could sit, so I had to stand 

He started to inte^ rogate me about the same things that I 
had al eady been interrogated about in Belg ade. There was 
again Atherton, my collaboration with him; uestions that I used 
a cover name, that I was a B itish spy, that I was supplying 
information about the German c oops to the B itish intelligence 
agents, etc. It was rough and bad, and I was really distressed 
by that There were some ominous threats, that 'We don't toler 
ate this kind of activity in the Third Reich, ' and threats were 
made, I was very discouraged after I came f om that interrogation 
There we e seve al more interrogations of the same kind on cer 
tain points and every one of them was bad and ude I was par- 
ticula ly alarmed when during one of the inte rogations, he asked 
me about my sister Tania, saying 'She also wo ked with you in 
the office of the B itish intelligence agent? 1 'Well.' I said. 
'she was just a plain typist' and so fo th 'Oh no.' he said, 
'she was a secretary, and before that she worked in the Royal 

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Exchange Assurance, another B itish fi-m, whose bosses were the 
famous Mattlebeck and Price, who were both B itish intelligence 
agents. We know that very well. ' I was so afraid for Tania 
not so much for myself that I t: ied not to talk. But he per 
sisted, so I had to answer certain questions. 

So it lasted for awhile Meanwhile I noticed a certain 
routiner how the population of our room increased and decreased. 
how people were bi ought in and taken out For taking out, there 
was a special procedure. Usually during the morning hours, one 
of the Gestapo civilian interrogators would come into the room 
with a batch of white and pink slips, then he would look at the 
slips and read the names If a name on a white slip was read it 
meant that the person was released: he was immediately taken out 
and what happened then we didn't know. The pink slip meant a 
concentration camp or probably even wo? se fate So we knew that 
if someone's name was ead from a pink slip, something bad would 
happen to that man. So that was the i-outine. I will neve for 
get how upset we all were when the former Austrian cavalry mas 
ter or Rittmeister, the former aide to the last Emperor of Aust' ia- 
Hunga-y was called upon and his name was on the pink slip. His 
interrogate just told him, 'We will go to a concentration camp. ' 
The man didn't even have a chance to shake hands with eve-ybody: 
he walked out proudly P obably he didn't want to show to -he 
Nazi jailers that he was afraid of them There were othe s The 

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Polish consul-general disappeared in the same way. 

At one time the population of the prison cell was reduced to 
18 people Then we felt much better, fo there was mo e oora to 
walk aiound and a place for everyone to sit and est on the bench 
es. One early morning, there were some signals coming up through 
the pipes of our water closet, some messages were transmitted, 
and the man who received the messages turned around and said 'Do 
you know that Germany attacked the Soviet Union this moaning?' 
We we e surprised, and I pa ticularly was shaken upr it meant 
something very strange to me. I hated the Nazis, but I hated 
the Bolsheviks more, and I thought 'This will probably bring an 
en<? to ray greatest enemy, the Bolsheviks in Russia.' I believed 
in the liberation of Russia; I hated to think that it would be by 
the Ge^-mans, but still,.. That was my f i~ st reaction to the news 
of the outbreak of war between Germany and the Soviet Union on 
the 22nd of June, 1941. 

And, interestingly enough, about a week afte*- that, when I 
was called in for a routine interrogation by He % -r G af , I noticed 
that there was considerable change in his attitude towa d me. 
Fo the first time he didn't ba k or shout at me; instead, he 
quite politely offered me a chair. I got scaredr I thought it 
was some kind of a trick, probably to dull my attention to help 
them in their interrogation tactics, and when he offered me a cig 
arette, I almost fainted. And then, instead of interrogating me, 








he told me the following thing: 'You know M Albov. I have >e- 

ead very carefully you personal dossier you inter oga.tions, 
and I see that you were an officer in the White A my, you were 
fighting the Bolsheviks, that you even lost you a -in while fight 
ing them, and- that you we e deco ated for b-ave y as an office 
of the White A my. Do you know that now the Gennan Reich is *t 
war with you enemy, with the Bolsheviks? What do you think of 
that? 1 

Well, of course I knew that this could be a turning point 
it might mean that I would be saved f om being annihilated by the 
Germans so very carefully choosing my wo ds, I said 'Yes, this 
is a very inte esting event. At thi^ time certainly you started 
the wa against my former enemy, and in this I am in solidarity 
with you that you might destroy the Bolsheviks. ' And on that 
note, the interrogation endedr they didn't ask me anything du ing 
that one about being a B itish spy I came back with mixed feel 

We were getting the daily newspape the VOlki.sche Beobachte 
and Beading daily about the tremendous successes of the Ge man 
anny As they advanced, hund eds of thousands of Red A my troops 
we e su rendering, the population was greeting the Ge man t oops 
as liberators, etc. My head was going ound and oundr I didn't 
know what to think. 

It was the custom in that Gestapo prison that a p isone had 

f a ' ' ''- 4. '" rf 

., v 



the right to send one postcard soraewhe e to his elatives from 
the prison. So when it was announced one day that we would be 
provided the postcard and the stamp and could write, I thought 
'To whom should I w ite?' It was already late fall; there was 
no use in waiting to Belgrade, ou house was destroyed, Tania was 
in pi son I didn't even know where Lusha was or what had hap 
pened to her so I didnft have anyone there. Then my thoughts 
turned to the Ge asimovs, my uncle and aunt who had lived since 
1919 in Berlin, and I decided to w ite to ray aunt I knew the 
name of the st eet, Fischerstrasse, but I had forgotten the num 
ber of the house I emembered that it was a double digit, some 
thing like 16 or 18 or 20 I wasn't su e but I was hoping 
that the letter would reach her With the help of f ^ lends in 
this place. I w ote a brief postca d saying 'Dear Aunt and Uncle: 
I am for no reason at all being held in the Gestapo prison in 
Vienna, where I was brought from Belgrade. I did nothing to 
justify ray being detained, and I would appreciate it if you would 
help me to be freed, and also it you would send me some foodstuffs ' 
Here I couldn't say because I was starving, but 'because I would 
like to ecei"e some additional food to what I am getting here. ' 
Even at that, I was afraid the censo s might c oss it out And 
the lette went out 

Afte a couple of weeks o so, I got an answer Of cou se 
this all went through Gestapo censors, so it was w itten on pu - 








pose for the Gestapo to ead: It said ' Dea Sashat I am amazed 

that you a e arrested you particularly now when Ge many is 

: f. ' irv.-'tirttf*4 o <:-..) ' ?. t - 
fighting Bolshevism you who were such a fighter against the 

Bolshevik egime, and a b ave of f ice^ , and you^ f'iends, 1 and 


she mentioned a friend of mine, 'P ince Lieven, who is al eady 
working against the Bolsheviks here in Be lin. I hope that with 
the help of your uncle they will soon free you. I am sending 
you some money and some goodies. ' 

Afte a short while some of the prison authorities came to 

me and said that some money was sent to me and also a pa eel of 

id rwki wy 
food. They said that they would keep the money because they 

could not give money to the p-isone s, but they brought me the 
food It was a la ge piece of bacon and a la ge piece of bread, 

a sweet bread of the coffee cake variety, used for tea, but that 


was exactly what we needed, a little suga , something sweet 

Well at that time the e were about 25 people in the cell, so we 

managed somehow with the help of the old jailbi ds, to borrow a 

knife, and with that knife we cut the b ead and the bacon into 

.s* Geatnoo 

25 equal pa ts and each of us got a little pa v t. That was the 
rule of any prison, that you had to share eve y thing with you 
cellmates. Well. I was very much encouraged: it was a good sign 
Afte^ that I was called fo another interrogation, and this time 
the v e was again a very great change in the attitude of my inter 
rogator, Herr G af This time he not only offered me cigarette*. 







"is O t ; '--' 


but o-de ed his secretary to bring me some coffee. Then he sta t- 
ed to tell me that my uncle, ' ho is a very distinguished oentle- 
man and a former Russian general, ' was wo king for my elease and 
that I might be considered for release from the Gestapo p ison. 

Within a sho t time, Herr Graf appeared in our cell with the 
usual batch of pink and white slips and he called my name When 
we were add essed inside the prison cell we we e never addressed 
as M of He r, but tust the name. 'Albovl 1 I jumped up and he 
said 'Pick up whatever you have fast, and come outl 1 I grabbed 
my things, and waved at my friends. I saw that he had ead my 
name from the white slip, so appa ently I was free The moment 
I stepped into the threshold of the p ison and found myself in 
the hallway, everything was changed. Suddenly the inte rogator 
called me 'Mv. Albov, ' shook ray hand and said 'My congratulations? 
you a e being released. We are immediately going to send you 
back to Belgrade, ' where they had arrested me. I was stunned; 
that was the ule, but I said "Why to Belgrade? The house we 
lived in was destroyed, my sister was arrested by the Gestapo 
sho tly after I was and I don't know where *he is you might 
know that I cannot go to Belgrade 1" 

Chapter 57 Scenario VIII 

The main eason which I didn't mention to Herr G af was 
that I was afraid to go back because I knew that some people who 




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V9 , VSV?L 




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had originally denounced me to the Gestapo would still be there, 
and that if I eappeared in Belgrade I might again get into 
trouble there. Therefore I asked that I might be allowed to go 
to Berlin, where my aunt and uncle lived, since they would be 
happy to provide me with accomodations. Heir Graf said 'To get 
to Berlin, the capital of our Reich, you have to get a special 
permit You are definitely not going back to Belgrade? Alright, 
then, you go back in your cell and wait until we ask the proper 
autho ities whether you will be given permission to go to Berlin ' 

With that, the cell door was opened and I again found myself 
on the inside, with all my cellmates looking at me in complete 
bewilderment They started to ask me questions: I told them what 
happened Some of them even laughed They said 'You know, we 
believe that it is the first time in the histo y of a Gestapo 
p ison that someone who is being fteed Defused to go out, but was 
sent backl* But I must say that when the door banged behind me 
and I found myself again in that blasted Gestapo cell I felt 

I had to wait almost a whole month I didn't have a chance 
to w ite anything because we were permitted to send only one let 
ter. I didn't know what to do. I was just waiting and waiting 
and feeling very bad 

Well, that time gave me a chance to reminisce about many 
things that had happened First of all, I thought of the unique 


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experience that I was living through in the Gestapo prison. I 
observed various kinds of human beings under conditions of tre 
mendous stress and deprivation I found it interesting that un 
der conditions of stress there are no shades of human behavior. 
There are either exceptionally nice people, saints, as they were 
called, or exceptionally bad ones, 'sinners', the scum of human 
ity, with nothing in between; a complete polarization of human 
souls I had the privilege of observing the naked souls of human 
beings r it was a wo thwhile experience That was one thing 

The other thing I was thinking of, was the Bolshevik system 
and the Nazis. And I came to the conclusion that actually Nazi 
Germany copied the Bolshevik system, fo all aspects of the 
Bolshevik system were present in the Nazi system the same one- 
pa ty rule, one leader: on the Soviet side Stalin, and on the 
German side. Hitler; the party was completely cont oiling the life 
of the state, and the life of the individual citizens. The 
Gestapo, for instance, was the spitting image of the NKVD It was 
the appa atus that was responsible for the arrest of people, for 
keeping them in p* isons, deciding their fate, fo executing them, 
and for sending them to concentration camps the same as in the 
Soviet Union without due process of law. The clash between 
these two systems the Nazi and the communist systems was some 
thing terrible, that I. and many other Russian patriots at that 
time, were hoping would end in the defeat of both. In the enti e 
wartime, the onlv thina that was not clear to us was: how could 

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^TrJO'-j w< pnirii vino 3ff:J . 


the western democracies so easily make a pact with Stalin? Just 
a sho-t time before, Stalin had a pact with Nazi Germany Now 
Stalin became Uncle Joe, a good friend of western democracy 
This was something beyond my comprehension and remained so 
throughout the wartime and beyondr I still don't understand it 
I must say that the responsibility for it lay with people like 
Chu chill and Roosevelt, who was a sick and weak man at the time 
of this and the end of the war. 

So I remained in p ison while waiting for permission to go 
to Berlin. Finally the day came? again Herr graf, my interro 
gator, appeared, again with a white slip, and called me out and 
said that permission was granted for me to go to Berlin. He was 
awfully nice. I went downstairs and they said that while I was 
in p ison my aunt had sent lots of money, but of course they 
couldn't give it to me, and there was a package that had just 
come. So now I had plenty of money, sent by ray aunt and uncle 
And finally I managed to showe and shave and change, and I felt 
like a man again Then they asked me whe e I wanted to go. Well, 
I said that before going to Berlin fi-st of all I wanted to stay 
for a day or two in Vienna and send a wire to my aunt and ask 
what her further instructions were So I asked for a tazi, they 
called one, and wished me good luckr I jumped in with my suit 
case and asked the driver to take me to the best hotel in Vienna. 
At that time the best were the Gr-and Hotel and almost across the 


rlw.r ami 








isor.f ^ri^ sr 

street, the Imperial He took me to the G and Hotel and b ought 
in my suitcase Certainly my appea ance wasn't very imp essive 
for that class of hotel. So, to the manager or desk clerk who 

egistered incoming guests, I said 'I would like to have the best 
room that you can get me ' He said 'Well, where is you passport?' 
I said 'I have no passpo t. ' 'You a>e a foreigner and you do not 
have a passpo; t? 1 he said, 'What happened?' Well, at this moment 
I ealized that I was in trouble again. I replied 'I do not have 
a passpo t because I have just been released from Gestapo p ison ' 

When he heard that, he looked at me and said 'Oh no, you are 
not going to stay in this hotel; we don't want guests like that 
Rep esentatives of the German high command are staying here, and 
foreign diplomats, and so forth. Please get out of here. ' 

So the porte took my suitcase outside, and called a taxi 
I went to another hotel not of the same class as the G and, but 
still in a nice location not far away from Denis Cu tner Str, 
and the Stephans Kirche, which I would always remember because I 
had been looking at the spire of that chu ch and praying while 
in the Gestapo p ison 

But the same story was repeated in that hotel: 'You a e a 
foreigner; whe>e is you passport?' 'I have no passport.' This 
time, when I told the man that I had been released from the 
Gestapo p ison, he said 'You will not be able to stay anywhere 
without proper documents. I could probably help you.' I suspect 

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that he was an Austrian of Slavic descent, p obably Czech Any 
way, he was obviously sympathetic to ray situation. So he asked 
'What is the name of the man who handled you case in the prison?' 
I told him it was a Herr G-af , and he said 'Wait, I will call him ' 
He went and called and came back and said 'Yes, Herr G af said 
that you must go back immediately to Gestapo head marte s and he 
will give you some kind of a document. ' 

So again I had to get a taxi and d>-ive to Gestapo head^uar- 
ters, which was located in one of the hotels I climbed the 
stairs with a heavy heart. After a wait, finally Herr Graf came. 
He was all smiles and everthing and said 'Sit down, yes, I forgot, 
completely forgot, that you don't have any documents with you 
It is alright, I'll give you a document. Have a cup of coffee! 1 
He offered me a cup of coffee and a cigarette, called a secretary 
and dictated to her a statement. The statement was a little bit 
vague It said in effect that M . Alexande Albov was eleased 
foday from Gestapo for the eason that there was insufficient 
evidence against him of ani-Ge man and -Nazi activities. It was 
a little ambiguous. Then, at my equest, he added "There is no 
objection to M . Albov going to Be lin to live with his Uncle and 
Aunt " I thanked him. and left the Gestapo head ua ters as fast 
as I possibV could. The taxi was waiting for me and I went back 
to the hotel to that man at the desk He said 'That will do it- 
I can register you on the grounds of that document I still have 

3 saw <* 

V 9 



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that document. 

I got a nice oomr I felt very well I went for a walk, took 
a cab and went first of all to the gardens of the Schfinb un palace 
in Schttnbrun park. This palace in Vienna is an imitation of 
Versailles, as are many other palaces around Eu ope 

After that I eturned to the hotel. It was almost dinner- 

4 time and I was p> etty hungry, and went to the restaurant. It 
was still ea ly; I was the only guest in the restaurant The 
waiter came to me, and I said 'Well I want wiener schnitzel, and 
a bottle of wine, and something else. ' He said 'Al ight, where is 
your ation card? 1 'Ration card? 1 I said, 'I don't have a ration 
card. ' He looked at me in bewilderment and said 'You stay here 
and you don't have a ration card?' 'I'll straighten that out 
immediately, ' I said, and hurried to my friend at the desk saying 
'Listen, there in the restau ant they ask me for a ration card. 
I don't have one What shall I do?' 

He said 'Oh yes, we in the hotels a e entitled to give to 
ou transient visitors ration coupons for three days, so here are 
three blue cards, meaning that it is three times fifty grams of 
meat, ; then this is for bread and this is for that. . . and marked 
on the back of my Gestapo card that he had given me these ration 
cards. So I went back and p oudly gave these Cation cards to 
the waiter. The wiene 1 - schnitzel that I had o dered consumed my 
meat ation fo all three days. 

jir.; r. 

- - - 

I f 







The very f i at moment when I stepped out from the prison to 
the st eet and was standing there waiting for a taxi, I thought 
'I am free. If I want, I can go across the street, or go to the 
right, or to the left: I am free. ' This was the most wonderful 
experience, and I was still elated all day; then having that din 
ner, and that wine, I enjoyed life like never before! Freedom is 
such a wonderful gift, especially since I had spent so many days 
and nights in that terrible prison 

I sent a wi e to my uncle and aunt telling them that I was 
free, staying in such and such hotel, and that I was ready the 
next day to move to Berlin, and asked their advice as to the best 
wat to take, etc. The next day I got a telegram from Aunt Lika, 
and she said that the best thing would be to take the night train 
leaving Vienna in the evening and arrive in Berlin in the morning 
and she would be waiting for ma at the station, or Bahnhof am Zug, 
which was the station nearest their apartment 

So, I got myself a sleeper, ordered through my friend at the 
hotel desk, who got me the railroad tickets, and went by train to 

At Berlin Aunt Lika met me. She was so happy; we had not 
seen each other since 1938, and she knew what I had gone through. 
I asked her if she had heard anything from Tania She said yes 
my sistex- had been eleased and was in Belg ade with Lusha and 
that she was in correspondence with Tania. 

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Well, I felt so good! We went to the Gerasimov home, and 
Uncle g eeted me happily. They gave me a room with the proviso 
that I wouldn't occupy it during the day since my aunt still 
continued her business as a haute couteur salon and that was the 
room where her clients who came during the day tried on their 
dresses. But at night the room was mine, so I didn't mind. 

I was walking around Berlin du ing the day, when I saw a 
lady coming towa-d me, dressed in a beautiful fur coat. She 
looked at me and I at her and I ealized that it was that F au 
Schmidt whom I had interviewed in Belg ade at the request of 
Atherton, before being arrested. I thought, 'How could it be 
that she is here in Berlin, when she escaped f ora Germany and gave 
me that interview? 1 And she asked me: 'What are you doing here?' 
I said 'I came he- e ' And she said 'Well, as far as I know you 
we e arrested by the Gestapo ' I said 'Yes, but I was released ' 
'Oh,' she said, 'apparently the Gestapo didn't know everything 
about you. I am a member of the gestapo, and I would like to 
have a little talk with you. Would you like to give me your 
address and telephone number and I will call you and we will meet 
at a place where I would like to talk to you. ' 

I was completely shocked. I ealized now that she had a 
very serious case against me because it was she, apparently an 
agent the Gestapo sent to Yugoslavia, whom I had so naively inter 
viewed, and the interview had appealed in the Daily Mail. 

I was downhearted I came back to my aunt and told her about 

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it. She was also very concerned, and I didn't know what to do. 
Then I emembered Herr von Schimpf , who was Berlin correspondent 
on the Daily Mail, a native German, who lived in Berlin I did- 
n't know I thought perhaps that being connected with the British 
he might have been arrested himself but I looked through the 
telephone book and I gound his name and telephone number So I 
immediately called His wife answered and I told he^ I would 
like to talk with him She said 'Oh, he is in his office in the 
propaganda ministry; I'll give you his telephone number.' So I 
called him there, and when I identified myself he said 'Oh, my 
dear friend Alex. So you came here; I would like to see you.' 

'I would like to see you too,' I said 'and as ~uickly as pos 
sible!' 'Has anything happened?' 'I won't be able to tell you 
over the telephone.' 'All ight, ' he said, 'come to the Propaganda 
ministry tomo row abound noontime and ask for me, and I will take 
you to lunch. ' 

Chapter 58 Scenario VIII 

So, at noontime I went to see Herr von Schimpf, who had been 
the correspondent of the Daily Mail in London, and also chief 
ov espon #nt of the Daily Mail in New Yo x, and now was a highly 
placed employee of the P opaganda Minist y in Berlin. The build 
ing was not fa away from Hitler's chancellery I went the -e, told 
the doorman that I came to see He^r von Schimpf, he gave him a 

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ring, and I was told that a secretary of his would come down and 
take me to his office. She came, and ushered me into his office. 

He hadn't changed much He came out around his desk and with 
a very friendly smile shook my hand and immediately began talking 
in English. He said 'Well, tell me what happened to youl You 
sounded ala med when I talked to you over the telephone! 1 

Now I saw that this was my only chance to confess everthing 
that had happened, because I was again with my back against the 
wall with the Gestapo. So I told him the whole story Not hiding 
anything, I told him about F au Schmidt; how I went at Atherton's 
request to Zag eb to interview her, how she pretended to be a 
refugee escapee from Nazi Germany, and how she gave me an inter 
view very detrimental to the Nazis, which Atherton used, which 
was printed in the Daily Mail, and that I had met he>- in Berlin, 
and th? t she said that she was with the Gestapo and that she would 
be giving me a telephone call in o.--der to talk to me and appa ent- 
ly probably either arrest me again o send me to Belg ade 

He listened carefully and said 'Oh these stupid Gestapo 
people! They don't understand I know you, and you're lucky 
that when I was in Belo-ade I had an oppo tunity to talk with you 

on several occasions I know you- attitude towa d communism and 

about my 

so forth. Don't you wo ry These stupid Gestapo people, they 
just don't know what they are doing When she calls you. tell 
her to call me immediately. Give her my telephone number, and 
everything will be alright And now lets go to the press club 


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for lunch! 1 

At the press club anothe surprise awaited me While we 
we e sitting the>-e having ou lunch, I ecognied at the next 
table a fellow who was epvesentative of the Deutsches Nach ichten- 
bu o, the Ge man news agency, in Belg ade who was also ve y su - 
prised to see me the e He came to ovr tablo and addressed me 
and said 'Well, how is it that you a e he 1 er as I ecall you we e 
in Belg ade with the United P ess last time I 1 He was a little 
bit hostile, but Hevr von Schimpf said 'Siv. this gentleman M . 
Albov is my friend, and I am. .. ' and he gave his high ranking 
title in the P opaganda Ministry. The fellow was satisfied with 
this and said no mo e. 

So we had a nice lunch and a nice talk. I told how the 
Gestapo was asking me about Atherton and about Atherton's associ 
ation with the B itish Intelligence Service, how I was accused of 
espionage because of working for the United P ess after the out 
break of war and how I certainly was involved in collecting in- 
tomiation about the movement of German troops, as was everyone 
else 'Su e ' he said. 'I unde stand that Fo the Gestapo, 
eve ybody is a spy. ' He was very outspoken 

he said 'Now, you fo get everything ' He asked me about my 
living conditions: I told him I was staying with my uncle and 
aunt who had been living in Berlin since 1919, and I gave him my 
telephone number and address with the Ge asimovs So we parted 

-* *"* ' **"* *~J f i J 










in a very friendly way, and the last thing he told me was. 'If 
anything happens to you again, if you are in any trouble. o*- if 
you need any help, always rely on me; give me a telephone call, 

come to my office? because I know you, and have respect for 
you. ' 

I was delighted. Afte lunch I went home to the Gerasimovs', 
who lived at Spiecherstr. no. 16, and in a much more -elaxed mood 

1 told my aunt what M . Von schimpf had said. She was very much 
relieved and she said 'By the way, that lady F- au Schmidt 
she called you while you were at lunch and she asked you to rc- 
tu n her call immediately upon you retu n. 

Well, I thought, here I have to tell he So I dialed the 
number and Frau Schmidt answered. 'You must come and see me. ' 
she said. 

I said 'Before that, would you please call a friend of mine 
in Be lin, M . von Schimpf, ' and I gave his high sounding title 
in the P opaganda minist y, 'because he wants to talk to you be 
fore you continue to talk to me This is his telephone numbe 1 . ' 
She said 'Al ight, I will call him.' 

I waited, and afte two days got a call from He>-^ von Schimpf 
He said, 'Don't you worry now about anything. Frau Schmidt called 
me. I invited he*- to lunch and we had a lengthy chat about you 
I told her that I know you, that everything is all ioht? that 
I vouch for you, that you are not a spy O'- anything, and she was 








' ' 





appa ently satisfied with that and asked me to tell you not to 

s w wtlkiftC! 
bother calling her again and she ^ega^ds the case as closed 

Can you imagine how I felt about that! 

I will now tell about life in the Ge asimovs 1 apartment 
Fi st of all, it was a Mode salon, so the e was a lot going on 
du ing the day. The^e was a lady in charge of the workshop, 
whe e seven o eight girls were wo- king, sewing dresses and so 
forth. The room in which I slept was used as a fitting room for 
the ladies so that all day long there we^-e ladies coming in. And 
I would sit either with uncle in his ' oom o 1 " in the dining room, 
o sometimes chat with the girls who were working fo- my aunt 
When the weather was nice, I walked around town 

F om the moment that I came to Berlin and through all my 
stay there every day the city was under ae ial bombardment 
The outine was this: a ound 10:30 oclock in the evening we we^-e 
usually listening to the radio and then the very familiar signal 
would come: 'Achtungl Achtung ! Enmy ai planes a e flying over 
Germany in the direction of B andenburg and Be lin! 1 Sho tly 
after that the si > ens ove the city would start wailing and that 
meant that it was a ^ed ale t and the airplanes we e approaching 
the Be lin a ea . At that point my uncle and aunt would go down- 
stai s into the ai raid shelter under the house. It was danger 
ous to be on the upper floods of the house 

Very strict blackout restrictions were inforce everywhere. 


I v : f 






Windows were covered with dark d apes so that not a streak of 
light could be seen from outside. Auxiliary guards were walking 
the streets and if they saw any light coming out of a window they 
usually would knock on the doo , go into the house, and unde 
threat of heavy fine order that it be immediately remedied. The 
st eets were da k at night 

Well, I was so happy to be sleeping on the nice soft couch 
in that room which my aunt had made into a sitting room, a beau 
tiful soft couch on which my bed was spread every night. And I 
told my aunt that 'You know, after sleeping in Gestapo prison 
for so many nights, I would like to sleep in a nice soft bed!' 
So never du ing the months that I spent in Berlin did I ever go 
down into the ai v raid shelter. Sometimes the aerial bombard 
ment was very bad. Bombs were falling close by. Particularly 
they set up an anti airc aft battery ve y close by. in a little 
park at the end of our street, the Kaiser allee. That battery 
made lots of noise, but still, I enjoyed the sleep. 

There was anothe problem, immediately after my arrival 
there. Eve y pe son in the German Reich unde the war-time con 
ditions had to egister fo wo k. Only in that case could one 
get food coupons: and without food coupons, of cou se. you would 
sta ve. It was essential, fj of course my uncle and aunt could 
n't feed me with their coupons because the Cation was very lim 

I had. to do something about that, and had finally to legal- 




fro ! 


: - 



ize myself On instructions from the Gestapo in Vienna, I had 
to repo t to the Be lin Gestapo with my document. They asked me 
a few questions and filled out a card and told me that I hat* to 
registe' immediately for wo "k. My aunt said I would have to do 
that because they could not feed me. It was not because they 
die not love me, but there we, e not enough food coupons 

Be lin, like London and Pa is, was a center for resettled 
Russian emic es, refugees who had fled Russia iafte> the Revolution 
Be lin had a la ge population of Russian eraig es? life was th^iv- 
ing there before the war Seve. al Russian newspapers were pub 
lished there, and Russian publishing companies published books. 
The famous Nabokov, well known for his novels and stories he 
became famous in the United States fov the novel Lolita was 


w iting then unde: the name Si. in. His father, a member of the 
Russian Duma, was killed du ing one of the gatherings of the lib 
eral wing of the Russian emigration, by some right winge s They 
actually intended to kill the Russian left leader, Miliukov, who 
was standing next to him, but killed Nabokov instead There we e 
Russian concerts; Chaliapin used to come the e, and all famous 
emic e ballet artists. The e were Russian estaurants and 
Russian food So Be lin was one of the cultu al cente-s of 
Russians in exile. 

With the outbreak of war between the Soviet Union and lifcxi 
Ge many, many Russians placed themselves at the se-vice &f the 




aj B' 


Ge mans to help in thei fight against ou greatest enemy, the 
communists. They we>e wo king as inte preto's and translate sr 
an o ganization was c eated called the Anti-comintern. and many 
people we e wo king the--e. Of cou se Aunt Lika, because of <-he 
former position of her husband, my uncle was ve y much in the 
limelight. Many f iends of the Gerasimovs visited them. I met 
many of them, and there we e some of my friends too. Quite a 
few members of the old aristocracy had settled in Berlin who knew 
my uncle from the time when he was head of the Okb ana in Saint 
Petersburg. My uncle w-ote his memoi s while in Berlin and those 
memoirs appealed as a series of articles in the well known weekly 
magazine BERLINER ILLUSTRIERTER, in a series of articles called 
De Katnpf aecen e/ste Russische Revolution, and it was published 
as a book. I have the German edition I had the Russian manu- 
sc* ipt but this manuscript burned together with all my other 
pape s du ing the bombardment of Belgrade. Publication of his 
memoi s in Berlin b ought quite a few acauaintanceships among 
the Germans, pa ticularly some old guard German military friends 
of my uncle, including the famous Gene al Ludendo f. It was 
th ough these high anking Ge man generals friends of my uncle 
that he hat? managed to get me released from the Gestapo p son 
Although they we^e not trusted very much by the new Nazi egime, 
they were kept in high espect by all the Ge mans and their word 
was influential. They had their own way to influence the Gestapo 

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in my favor. 

Now my problem was: I had to get a job I had to epo t 
immediately because I had to get my food coupons. So I talked 
to my aunt and she said 'There a:e some people like P ince 
Kochubei and you friend P ince Sasha Lieven who al eady work in 
the Anti-comintern, and I know people there like M . Viebe . I'll 
give him a call and you'll go there and you can p obably get a 
job in that anti-comintern office. ' 

So that was a ranged and I went one day to the office which 
was called Vineta. It was located on Victoriastrasse. a very 
nice section of Berlin. I went there and asked for M--. Vieber. 
This Vieber had been an actor at the Moscow A t Theater. His 
wife, a native Russian, had also been a prominent actress there. 
M . Viebe>-, being of German descent, opted for German citizenship. 
He decided to leave Russia and left with members of the Ge man 
embassy after the outb eak of war. 

So I went to see M Vieber. There were some other Russians 
and Ge.mans milling abound I told him who I was and he said 'Oh 
I know about you, and I would like you to meet some othe - people, ' 
and he introduced me to a man by the name of Spitz eich He was 
also a Russian Ge man: he wo e a Nazi pa ty badge but he spoke 
faultless Russian, the same as Vieber He asked me my expe ience. 
so I told them that actually I was a law school graduate and 
that my jou nalistic expedience was initially with the English 


* (do -<t YRI v 



' 83 1 



Press and then with the United Press. They looked at each other 
and said 'Do you have any documents?' 

'Well, ' I said, 'I will be frank with your I have just been 
released from Gestapo p ison ' 

They were eally su prised, and again asked if I had any 

I said 'Yes, ' and p oduced that document I had eceived 
from the Gestapo, and then my Daily Mail co respondent care and 
a document f om United P ess, stating that I was a member of the 
United P ess bu eau in Belgrade. 

They took these documents and went into another room and I 
saw that one of them was shaking his head I was not su p ised. 

In about 20 minutes they came out, headed by a man in a 
Nazi unifo m, a brown uniform with all the party regalia. He 
was appa ently the political boss of that outfit They came to 
me and the fellow made a statement in German that in spite of my 
unusual background they considered that I might be useful to 
wo k with them, that I was hi ed effective today, and that my 
wo k woulc" consist of preparation of texts for broadcasts aimed 
towa d the Soviet Union. I asked them to give me some kind of 
statement which would entitle me to get food coupons, which they 
did immediately 

ft JB T -f 

fl t'Jiw n. 





Chapte> 59 Scenario VIII 

I was auite imp essed by German efficiency, because within 
two days, on the basis of the document that I got from Vineta, 
I got the so-called F ^emdenpa ss , the passpo t for foreigner's 


entitling them to live on the territo y of the Reich and with 
that I got the food coupons, which was a great relief fo me 

While I was still in p ison, my sister Tania had been e- 
leased from Gestapo p ison in Belg ade and was again living with 
Lusha and was in correspondence with the Ge>asimovs- The Ge-asimovs 
w ote he - that I had been freed and we started to wo k togethe-> 
trying to bring Tania and Lusha to Be lin to join us I used 
that oppo tunity to ask Tania to go to see whethe- my private 
tailor was still functioning in Belgrade, and since he had all 
my measu ements to t y to buy me good clothing and make a couple 
of suits and winte*- coat fo me I had only the light coat which 
we had got f om Atherton's office, and winter was here. Well, she 
answered that she had found the tailo and he still had all the 
measu ements, and she found the cloth and he would make me two 
suits and a winter coat which she would b-ing with he->- It was 
a great elief for me because the clothing situation in Ge many 
was terrible Once I managed to get coupons fo- a jacket which 
was made not of wool some people said it was made of somo kind 
of wood I don't know but anyhow it was very much r satz stuff 

So, while waitinq for Tania and Lusha to a rive I sta-trd 


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^o 3 : cr 






my wo k at Vineta. My wo k there consisted initially of going 
ove the propaganda articles which were w itten by the Ge mans 
and t anslated at Vineta. I and some other people would correct 
them and select the most suitable to be broadcast to the Soviet 
Union Within two weeks I was absolutely disgusted by the con 
tent of the material, to such an extent that I decided to do 
something about it I had thought I was going to fight communism, 
but this was just pu e p o-Ge man, p o-Nazi p opaganda and they 
thought that with that kind of silly stuff they we e going to 
win the wa against the communists Anyhow. I decided to call 
their attention to that, no longer being afraid of any conse 
quences. Therefo e at one of the regula staff meetings of Vineta 
I asked for a wo d, and I told them what I thought- I said that 
this kind of propaganda only strengthened the hand of Stalin and 
didnt t help in any way the anti-communist goal Therefore I sug 
gested that the propaganda mate ial for broadcasting shouldn't be 
translated from German propaganda stuff, but had to be written by 
people who had suffered under communism, and who were capable of 
writing in good Russian, and also that the speak e s who broadcast 
should be all native speake s. p efe ably the most ecent a riv 
als from the Soviet Union; there were al eady thousands of them 
comino all the way f om Moscow, some very well educated people 

And to my amazement the Gennans listened very carefully to 

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me. Of cou se I wasn't fluent in Gensmn, and spoke mostly through 
an interpreter. The staff meeting was in the mo nine; and in the 
afte noon, I was called by the big shots of Vineta and was told 
that 'We were very much impressed by you talk and we thought that 
yru a e tha man who should take over command of the Russian staff 
and take this command outfit as the director of it I was just 
flabbergasted! Not long ago I had been in the Gestapo p ison and 
now elatives of my jailo a, so to speak, had offe ed me that 
responsible job But I accepted it 

I sta- ted to check, with the help of Vieber the camps fo 
1 eifugees who had escaped fas the Soviet Union to the Ge man side 
du ing the German attack on the Soviet Union We found cruite a 
few exceptionally talented men One of them was Ma~chenko. who 
later on came to the United States and published many books unde>- 
the name of Na okov And his son. also a brilliant man. whom I 
later helped to get a job at the Defense Language Institute. 

Being in the position of the Russian depa tment (Abteilung) 
of Vineta, I was entitled to Deceive some estricted material, 
and that was eally a sou ce of enjoyment for me. I was getting 
all information, published under the label of secret, everything 
that came f om Great B itain, in English As a matte of routine 
they sent me that material togethe with what was picked up f om 
the Soviet broadcasts. We we~e monito ing with ar^at inte eat 
all Soviet broadcasts, seeing changes in mood, wom-ering how they 

WOlllr? . or-t- +-f\ nttr Viynji^r-jm fs . *tT! We we ' r> b 

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Warsaw The Gentians of course wouldn't let us go straight on the 
ai ; everything was eco-ded and eviewed by censo s. but the e 
was not too much censo, ship of the work of my group, and I managed 
to collect a very talented g oup of people Mo cover I insisted 
and managed to pe suade them that the speakers who actually nar 
rated the stories to be broadcast should all be persons newly ar 
rived from the Soviet Union And we found some great talents 
the e. We found some actors and artists from the theaters who 
spoke beautiful Moscow standard Russian and they we e ou speakers, 
and eally they we^e on a pa> with the best speake s who we e 
na rating thei propaganda on the Soviet side I got full c edit 
fo that effort I was very busy; I had two sec eta ies com 
pletely bilingual, and the group g ew and grew until finally I 
had about 50 people wo king in that department. Pa allelell with 
us the*e were othe nationalities; Latvians. Lithuanians. Estonians 
C imean Tata s, Aze baijanis, Geo gians, etc , each of whom had 
thei own thing 

It should, be remembered that the political line of official 
Nazi Germany at that time was based on the Rosenberg theories. 
Rosenberg, who fortunately was hanged after the Nurnberg trials, 
was the Minis te^- of Eastern Affairs. This meant that he was in 
charger that he was entrusted by Hitle*- with planning what^,, to 

br the futu e of Russia His idoas, of dismembprino Russia into 

we c dea to the Ge mans because they we^e 
small sepa ate states. " 


>M : 




hoping to seize Russia and weaken it They hoped to separate 
the Uk -aine and Belorussia, etc. To my amazement, after several 
years when I came to the United States and became an American cit 
izen, I found the Rosenberg sentiments very much alive here in 
the United States congress, whe e that infamous Resolutions of 
the Captive Nations was almost simila to the documents w itten 
by Rosenbe-g unde the direction of Hitler Again the idea was 
of dismembering Russia instead of insisting that Russia should 
be a unified national sfeate which should ove 1 throw communism and 
be a real friend of western democ acies. This pa t of American 
policy goes beyond my understanding On the one hand, Kissinger's 
detente; on the other, that Captive Nations attitude It is ve^y 
stranger we are not going to win tae Russian people to our side, 
which is what we need. We do not need to be friendly with Stalin 
o Kh ushchev o B ezhnevr we need the Russian people on ou^ side. 
We still do not unde stand that. 

So, I was wo king in Vineta. very hard, and conscientiously 
Wo king there I felt again as a soldier who fought communists 
du ing the Russian civil wa . except that this time, my weapon 
was not a rifle or machine gun, but probably a mo e powe>ful 
weapon anti-communist adio p opacanda At the same time I 
felt that I was a pawn in an eno mous st ucgle that was being 
fought between political theories so diffe ent on the one hand 
and so siraila on the other I have always claimed that communism 

9SI3B C 


-! sli vl 

'".f IP- C 

~ s s -- 




ancl fascism a e two sisters, almost identical I had no qualms 
of national conscience about continuing to fight bolshevisra in 
the se-vice of Nazi Germany. I had merely changed my habitat 
from Russia, which I had left long ago, after the Civil War. to 
Germany, In no way had I enounced my rao al p incipals which I 
had pledged in Russia, to fight the Bolsheviks to the bitte end. 
It should be remembered that at that time, when I was working in 
Ge many against communism, I didn't owe allegiance to the United 
States. I didn't even d earn that I would one day find myself 
in the United States as an American citizen When I became an 
American citizen, I gave all my sencere allegiance to this g eat 
country in which I am now living and in which I have ma ried and 
in which my son was bo n and will continue the p oud tradition of 
ou family. 

After the outbreak of World Wa II, with the collapse of the 
Kingdom of Yugoslavia, to which I owed allegiance as a natu alized 
citizen of that country, I woed allegiance to no country, but only 
to my ideals to do everything possible to see the destruction of 
communism in Russia and to see the country of my ancesto s free. 
As ep esentativea of the great western democracies, Roosevelt 
and Chu -chill, we* e at that time choosinq in the national interest 
to collabo ate with Bolshevism, and its mu derous leader Joseph 
Stalin, I chose in the national interest of Russia to collabo ate 
with Nazi Ge many against my greatest enemy communism in o der 



:<v.' .o.r.v 





to see it destroyed. I believed that with the destruction of 
communism, also Nazism would be destroyed, an<f I would see national 
Russia esto 1 ed 

The diffe ence between the attitudes of Roosevelt and 
Chu chill toward the Bolshev.-'k Soviet Union and my attitude to- 
wa d Nazi Ge many though it is perhaps presumptuous of me to 
compa e the views of those $reat leaders to my own was that 
while collaborating with them, I eally hated the Nazi regime 
which had imprisoned me and which brought so much destruction and 
misery to the people of x^ussiar whereas the western democracies 
we-e on f iendly terms with 'Uncle Joe' Stalin, the man who 
killed ten times mo e people than Nazi leader Adolf Hitler 
Hitle was esponsible fo genocide against Jews Poles, Gypsies 
Russians and many others; but Stalin, the friend of the weste n 
democ acies, was esponsible fo> - organized genocide through Red 
terror, and th-ough man-made famine in which millions of people 
perished So in my wo k in the field of propaganda against 
Communism, I collaborated with the Nazis on a much smaller deg^ ee 
than did Roosevelt and Chu chill, with the Red Fascist. Stalin 
Cold p agmatism was the motivating factor in both cases. There 
to e, when somebody dares tell me that I was collaborating with 
the Ge mans, my answe is 'Yes. in the same way as the great 
leaders of the western democ acies were collabo Bating with the 
most atrocious and evil powe known to the wo Id: Bolshevism and 


r> r ".'t?Pi or. ' 



its leader Stalin! 1 My goal was ester ation of national Russia 
by any means; theirs was the destruction of Nazi Germany by any 
means? so we could not accuse each other on account of collabora 

The trouble with ou Russian liberation movement du ing 
Wo Id Wa II was that we lost ou fight His to y knows however 
of other collaborators with the Germans against the allies in 
Wo Id Wa I There were I ish patriots unde the leadership of 
DeVale a. who, with Ge man arms, fought the B it ish in the famous 
Easter uprising of 1916- The I ish won their independence, and 
DeValera became president of the I ish Republic. Another collab 
orator with the Germans during World War I was Marshal Pilsudskii, 
commander of the Polish Legion in the German army on the Russian 
f-ont. He also won, and became president of the Polish ^epublic. 
In both cases, collaboration with the Gentians was fo- given and 
forgotten, because they succeeded. 

Chapter 60 Scenario VIII 

Sho tly before Christmas, my sister Tania and Lusha came to 
Be lin- so ou family was again eunited Aunt Lika and Uncle 
Alexander Ge asimov were quite happy to have us live with them 
Besides the pleasu e at seeing the youngev generation of the 
Albov family living with them, Aunt Lika was also vevy happy about 
Lusha joining the household, because Lusha i elieved her from 
tedious household chores. 






' "* set Y r . - 


t^ ^ S: {1 

'' - ' "i f-- .. i<: *i tfO 

- 423 - 

I managed to get my sister Tanla a job at Vineta as a Russian typist. 
The fact that we could now pool our meager food coupons made life easier for 
all of us. It was a little crowded in the apartment, but Tania and I spent 
most of our time in the Vineta office anyway, so it wasn't so bad. Aunt 
Lika's mode salon, located in the apartment, prospered and because her 
clientele were mostly ladies of the Berlin diplomatic corps, she received from 
her customers such things as real not ersatz coffee, chocolate and other 
delicacies completely unavailable for the rank and file Germans. Of course, 
Tania and I contributed generously to our communal life from our earnings. I 
was getting a good salary but there was nothing to buy with the money, since 
everything was rationed. Only wine was not rationed, and people were indulging 
in parties where little food was served and plenty of alcoholic beverages 
were consumed. I felt as if I was living in an unreal world. First of all, 
after the dreadful experience of the long months in the Gestapo prison, I 
wanted to unwind, to live a full life. I wanted the company of charming 
ladies, since through the collapse of life in Belgrade I had lost contact with 
my former lady friends. In Berlin I met and had many romantic adventures with 
fascinating women, both Russian and German. Most of the Russian ladies of my 
fancy belonged to the artistic world into which I penetrated as director of 
the Russian section of Vineta. We had the most charming ladies actresses, 
opera singers, etc. who worked for anti-Soviet propaganda. We organized 
some fabulous parties, sometimes a little bit gauche, where we drank lots of 
champagne. It was really something like the feasts during the plague in the 
Middle Ages, because the war was a plague. The bombardment of Berlin was 
intensified weekly, Berlin was bombed every night and very often our parties 
had come to an end in the air raid shelter, where the local German people 
looked on us in unfriendly fashion, since we spoke Russian freely, and were 
obviously in a good mood, but we couldn't care less. We worked in Germany, but 

- 424 - 

for something they could hardly understand, a national Russia, and we hated 
the Nazis. Quite a few Germans, by the way, shared our views of the Nazis. 

My unwinding, which included amorous escapades, was at the same time 
interwoven with very hard and responsible work. I carried out my nationalist 
Russian propaganda line in the broadcast programming to a point where I started 
to get into conflict with the German propaganda bosses. In spite of the 
strict censorship and the fact that our broadcasts were always put into the 
air from taped materials, the Germans monitoring our radio, particularly near 
the front line on the eastern front sometimes complained that our Vineta 
propaganda output was devoting too much time to Russian problems, while almost 
completely neglecting broadcasting boastful German propaganda regarding their 
victories in the west and in the east. I started to receive warnings that 
I should follow more closely the general propaganda instructions given to me. 
Sometimes my conversations with the Germans resulted in great tension and more 
than once I detected a veiled threat that I had better comply more closely 
to their orders, or else. This 'else' I knew quite well. It meant the 
Gestapo with its prison, torture and concentration camps. It happened to one 
of my good friends, who I will call Serge. He was working in the Anti- 
Comintern Office, which was similar to our Vineta, which also employed a large 
number of Russian-speaking people. He was an Oxford educated man, a great 
anglophile and we were good friends. We used to meet in the home of a Russian 
family named Falsfein. I have mentioned this family before, how one of the 
older men was a rich landlord in Southern Russia, who under the Bolsheviks was 
imprisoned in the same cell with my father. 

Anyway, it was a very pleasant house, and we had wonderful parties there, 
at that time with no food but with plenty of wine as everywhere else. If you 
went to a restaurant with a girlfriend you couldn't afford to buy her food 
on your coupons because then you would starve, so you paid for the food but 

- 425 - 

she had to provide you with the coupons. 

It was a time when a series of heavy bombardments were made on Berlin. 
I hadn't seen my friend Serge for quite awhile so one day I asked one of 
the young girls at the Falsfein house 'What happened to him?' We were sitting 
at the table and suddenly there was a dead silence. Mrs. Falsfein asked me 
to come to another room with her where she told me a real horror story about 
my friend Serge. What had happened was this. On the morning after one of the 
heaviest bombardments of Berlin by the British, my friend Serge came to his 
office in the anti-comintern with a flower in his lapel. When asked by 
someone why he was wearing a flower that particular day he answered as a joke, 
'To celebrate the visit of my friends last night!' Unfortunately, there were 
someGGermans in the room, and they apparently reported him to the Gestapo. My 
friend Serge was arrested the same day and within a short time executed. 

When I heard that story I realized that I myself was walking on very thin 
ice, and that if I was not careful I might myself one day share the fate of my 
friend, particularly since my background as a former British and American 
correspondent and Gestapo jailbird made my position even more dangerous. But 
strangely enough I didn't experience any fear. I was deeply involved in my 
work, I had a strong will, and commanded the devotion and support of all my 
subordinates from text writers, translators, correctors, typists and researchers 
to broadcasters, so that the Germans apparently didn't dare to threaten me too 
much. Some of them, I felt, respected my independent, unservile attitude and 
I always spoke my mind. I preached to them about the suicidal policy of the 
Nazis in mistreating the Russian people, who initially saw the Germans as their 
liberators, but later were embittered by the Germans' stupid and arrogant 
mistreatment and forced labor in Germany under a starvation diet. The Russians 
who were brought from the parts of Russia occupied by Germans for forced labor 
were forced to wear the letters OST (which means East) on their outer garments, 

- 426 - 

the same way as the poor Jews had to wear the yellow Star of David. We free 
Russians were absolutely disgusted. We immediately tried to get in contact with 
these poor Russian people whom the Germans called sub-humans, untermensch. 
When I saw all this with my own eyes, when I talked to the Ost-Arbeiter 
[Eastern workers] in the camps which I was permitted to visit, I realized 
that from that point on, in addition to my fight against communism, I would 
wait for the moment when I would be able to fight also the Nazis. Now I had 
two enemies, the Reds and the Nazi fascists. 

As I said before, the bombardment of Berlin was getting more and more 
devastating. Once, when I was spending an evening with one of my lady friends 
in her apartment near Tempelhof Airport, a terrible air raid started, concen 
trated in the airport area. My friend and I had to run down into the air raid 
shelter and stay there for a couple of hours. After the all clear was 
sounded I had to go home. All means of transportation in that area were dis 
rupted by the bombardment and I had to walk quite a long distance. I knew 
my way but some of the streets became impassable, being covered with the 
debris of ruined houses. Terrible fires were burning everywhere, but 
finally I got lost and found myself in a little square surrounded on all sides 
by burning houses. And then for the first and only time in my life I saw a 
so-called fire storm. It was a flaming wind blowing with a tremendous 
velocity. To save myself I ran into the gutter, and laid face down on the 
ground, trying to cover my head with my overcoat. I was afraid that the over 
coat would ignite, and that would be the end of me. Fortunately the fire wind 
blew higher over me. The heat was unbearable. It was hard to breathe the 
rarified, almost incandescent, air. When the fire storm subsided I ran out 
of that area through unknown streets, but finally, found my way home, 
completely exhausted. 

- 427 - 

Another time, after another heavy bombardment, when I was going to the 
office I came out of the subway at the Alexanderplatz, a famous place in 
Berlin, which was a short walking distance from my Vineta office. I smelled 
a strong smell of phosphorus, and then to my amazement and horror I noticed 
that it came from the soles of my shoes. Every step I made on the pavement 
was like striking a match. I realized that when the British dropped phosphorus 
bombs, some of the liquified phosphorus didn't burn out, but covered the 
pavement with a thin layer so that anyone walking through that area struck 
fire with his shoes, an eery experience. 

When I came to the office I found it pretty badly shaken up by the 
previous nights bombing. There were cracks in the walls, and some plaster 
had fallen from the ceiling. My office wasn't damaged and for my shaken-up 
secretary I had some good medicine in the bottom drawer of my desk, a bottle 
of French cognac. 

I will now continue the story of my conflict with the German bosses 
and the propaganda line I took while directing the broadcasts into the Soviet 
Union. To complicate the situation with my German bosses, one former famous 
German communist leader, Albrecht, became a devout Nazi, who was regarded as 
an expert on Soviet affairs because he had lived for quite a while in the 
Soviet Union. So the propaganda bosses listened to his advice and passed certain 
instructions on to me. One of these was that we should avoid attacking Lenin 
because this Mr. Albrecht, who was formerly a communist, and now a Nazi, 
convinced the German propaganda bosses that we should play up the position of 
devout Leninists versus the Stalinists of the present day. His theory was that 
as pure Leninists were better than Stalinists, this was a good story to be 
played upon, and we might get some former Leninists on our side. This was 
an absurd idea of course, but the Nazi Germans, not being very clever, trusted 
him and thought that it would be a good idea, so the word was passed to me to 

- 428 - 

go easy on attacking Lenin. 

Well, it so happened at that time that a very talented writer who was 
writing scripts, particularly of a humorous nature, wrote a tremendously funny 
story involving Lenin's spirit. The present day bosses were supposedly 
sitting in the Kremlin and having a spiritualist session calling the spirit 
of Lenin. The spirit appeared and so forth, and then after listening to their 
talk disappeared. To narrate the story we had a wonderfully talented man by 
the name of Blumental Tamariev, an actor of first rank of the Moscow theater, 
who, when the German troops approached Moscow, escaped to the German side and 
was immediately brought to my attention. He had a great talent; the way he 
narrated a story was really something to hear. So he took it on himself to 
narrate this story. When he came to the point of the disappearance of Lenin's 
spirit after completing the talks with the Stalinists he said, "And so Lenin's 

spirit disappeared with the sound " whereupon he made some very strange 

sounds. It was recorded on tape and passed the censorship and I forgot about 
it because every day there were new stories and new things to cover. 

Then one day all my German bosses came into my room and closed the door 
and said "What happened? What kind of a story was that about Lenin's spirit? 
We would like to listen to the tape." 

"Oh, just a second," I said, "you are talking about that funny story 
written by Mr. Fevre (?), the author?" and I had the tape retrieved from the 
archies and played. 

When they heard that very unpleasant sound that accompanied the narrative 
of the disappearance of Lenin's spirit they were outraged. They said, "It 
violates all our instructions! You ridicule Lenin, wereas our friend Albrecht 
suggested..., etc., etc." I realized the conflict between me and my German 
bosses had come to a head. 

- 429 - 

What saved my neck was that shortly after that the report was received 
two Soviet pilots were captured and interviewed and they mentioned that while 
flying on their military missions, they often listened to that particular 
German broadcast from Vineta, and they made very complimentary remakrs, saying 
that they had been particularly amused by a certain story. I requested that 
a transcript of their statement be given to me and I kept it in a little file 
on my desk. Whenever Germans would come and criticize the validity of my 
propaganda or violation of their guidelines I would draw out that report and 
show it to them. I would say, "Listen to what the people about whom you should 
be most concerned say about our broadcasts!" That usually shut them up, and 
saved my neck. 

There were other cases like that, since more and more prisoners of war 
referred to our broadcasts. Most of these were fliers, who had radios, since 
no one on the ground had the opportunity to listen to our broadcasts. 

Shortly before Christmas, 1941, I had a serious infection in my eye 
and even had to go to the hospital. So I spent Christmas in a German hospital 
sitting there and listening to their singing "Stille Nacht, Heilig Nacht", 
the same as our "Silent Night". After 3 or 4 days there I had recovered 
pretty well and by the Russian Christmas I was already back. 

During December of 1941 many fateful events occurred, especially the 
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into the war. 
From that point I realized that the German cause was lost. In spite of their 
great victories on the eastern front, they didn't take Moscow. General Vlasov 
was one who could take credit for repulsing the German troops from Moscow; 
he was one of the great defenders of Moscow, and later he played such a 
significant role in the Russian liberation movement, of which I will speak later. 

In February 1942 the Germans suffered the terrible defeat on the Volga 

- 430 - 

River at Stalingrad. That was the turning point of the whole war, which finally 
ended in their complete defeat. 

Chapter 61 Scenario VIII 

Since the events of my work in Vineta from this point on will be closely 
tied to and will play a significant role in the Russian liberation movement, 
I have decided to give a brief summary of the head of this movement, the 
famous, tragic figure, General Vlasov. 

Lieutenant General Andrei Andreevich Vlasov, one of Stalin's most 
capable army commanders, was captured by the Germans in the summer of 1942. 
He was a kind of Russian DeGaulle, the ideal leader of the proposed Russian 
liberation army. 

Vlasov was ready to side with the Germans for the purpose of forming a 
Russian anti-communist political organization to recruit adherents in the PW 
camps and to make preparations for the constitution of the anti-communist 
army. The trouble was, the German leaders were guided by the stupid Nazi 
doctrine which regarded the Russian people as sub-humans, and supported the 
dismemberment of Russia into numerous small states and racial groups. 
Vlasov, however, was a Muscovite who supported a centralized and unified state. 
He initially was permitted to make a propaganda campaign directed toward the 
Red Army. The operation was successful. In May 1943, 2,500 Red Army men 
deserted and within a few days the figure rose to 6,500. Vlasov 's appeal was 
so successful that on June 1, 1943 the German army officers who supported him 
decided that Vlasov should make the next step, the proclamation of an independent 
Russian government under the leadership of Andrei Vlasov. How different the 
history of the world might now be if that plan had been realized. There were 
hundreds of thousands of anti-communist Russians who in 1943 were prepared to go 

- 431 - 

along with the Germans in order to break the tyranny of Stalin. But, Germany 
unfortunately was ruled by a madman open to no rational arguments. Hitler 
raged and proclaimed that he would never permit the formation of a Russian 
army and government. Only in the summer of 1944, after suffering terrific 
reverses on the Russian front , the Germans came to their senses and permitted 
the formation of three divisions, of which actually two were organized. 

CL4^f . 

These divisions were part of the Russian Liberation Army [Russkoft osvoboditel n 
armila] or ROA. German high-ranking generals realized that there might be a 
political purpose injected into the campaign against the Soviet Union, 
collaboration with the national Russia liberated from communism and allied 
by friendship with Germany. There was such a possibility because the Russian 
people had suffered grievously under Stalinism. The terror, the first purges 
of kulaks, the interminable economic chaos, the purges in the Red Army, partly 
in connection with the so-called Tukhachevsky affair, the persecution of 
national minorities, all these were elements in favor of changing the political 
course of Germany toward support of the national aspiration of the Russian 
people. The persecution of the Russian Christians also left behind permanent 
and bitter scars on the deeply religious Russian people. Stalin's son, lakov, 
an officer in the Red Army, was captured by the Germans and in an interrogation 
by the Germans said: "The only thing my father, Joseph Stalin, dreads is a 
nationalist regime opposed to him, but that is a step you will never take, 
because we know that you have not set out to liberate our country, but to 
conquer it." Those were the words of Stalin's son, whom the Germans had 
captured. They treated him relatively well, but he caught typhus in the PW 
camp and died. 

General Vlasov never went out of his way to flatter the Germans, and never 
left any doubt that he was collaborating with them merely for the sake of 

- 432 - 

Russian national independence. Later, when I myself was in the ROA, I had 
a chance to participate in main political talks between General Vlasov and 
my commanding general, General Maltsev. These discussions usually took place 
in the bathroom with the noise of running water muffling our voices, since 
we knew that the German Gestapo had hidden microphones everywhere in Vlasov 
headquarters. In this, our clandestine conversation, Vlasov openly told us 
that he hated the Nazis, and would go along with them only to secure delivery of 
arms and ammunition for his troops, the Russian Army of Liberation. The 
Russian army proved that point in the last days of the war in May 1945 when 
the 2dn Division of Russian Liberation Army troops attacked the SS troops in 
Prague and liberated Prague from the Germans. 

Regarding the fate of the Russian Liberation movement under General 
Vlasov, it should be noted that initially Vlasov was denied success and the 
German attitude changed only in August 1944, when confronted with the rapidly 
deteriorating war situation. Then the Germans finally sanctioned creation of 
the Committee for the Liberation of the Russian people, with General Vlasov 
as its head. But this happened far too late. Born out of opportunism and 
despair the Vlasov army at that late hour was doomed to failure. On February 10, 
1945, the first and the only two Russian divisions were formally put under 
Vlasov 's command, and the Russian flag was hoisted over the Vlasov headquarters 
and these divisions. 

Vlasov "s attempts to salvage these divisions from the ruins of the 
German Reich and to transfer them to the western allies were thwarted by the 
Allies themselves. The Yalta agreement, a shameful document, bound all 
belligerents to surrender Allied prisoners to their countries of origin by force 
if necessary. Thus, through a betrayal by the western allies General Vlasov 
and his followers found themselves treading the hitter road to imprisonment 
and eventually to the gallows of their own country which they had wanted to 

- 433 - 

liberate from the communist yoke of Stalin. 

This story of the Russian liberation movement and General Vlasov and 
other leaders of the movement can be best concluded by the final statement 
made by Vlasov shortly before he was handed over to the Soviets. Vlasov said, 
and I quote, "George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were traitors in the 
eyes of the British Crown. They won their fight for freedom and are now 
revered as heroes. I lost. So I will remain a traitor until such time 
as freedom comes in Russia. I do not believe in the help of the Americans. 
We have nothing to offer. We are not a power factor, but thus to have trod on 
our Russian hopes for freedom and for human worth, out of ignorance and 
opportunism is something that the Americans, British, and French; and perhaps 
Germans too will bitterly regret." 

What can I add to these prophetic words of Vlasov? If we - I speak 
from the point of view of the Americans - had helped Vlasov to win we wouldn't 
have the terrible political tension between the West and the Soviet Union 
which has existed ever since, and which is becoming more and more threatening, 
and which could explode one day into an apocalyptic Armageddon to bring an 
end to our civilization. I am proud that through incredibly complex circum 
stances I was destined not only to witness but to be an active participant in 
these events which I have just described and I must add to it that I am proud of 
the role I played. 

A book describing the Vlasov struggle by W. Strik-Strikfeldt has been 
published in English under the title Against Stalin and Hitler. It gives an 
insight into one of the great tragedies of World War II. 

In Vineta my staff and I were all very much excited by the emergence 
of Vlasov. Initially, at the beginning of 1943, he and some of his senior 
staff officers were already in Berlin, but were still under wraps, and with PW 
status. However, they lived in a special apartment, a little villa on Victoria 

- 434 - 

strasse, closely guarded, but we from Vineta had a chance to visit these people 
and talk to them, and sometimes they would visit Vineta. In our radio broad 
casts we were not permitted to refer to Vlasov in any way because that area o 
broadcasting was conducted by the German armed forces, not by Vineta. However, 
I made the acquaintance of General Vlasov himself, with his chief of staff 
General Turkhin, a former member of the old Russian novility a very pleasant, 
well educated man also with General Blagoveshchenskii, and with General Malyshkin- 
a very pleasant and capable fellow, and finally with Shirinkov. Shirinkov 
was, strangely enough, a former Soviet political commissar and before that he 
was a communist bigwig in the communist apparatus in Moscow, but during the 
war, after the death of his commanding general, he took over the command of his 
division and was captured as a divisional commander and the Germans chose to 
disregard his political past. He was a very knowledgeable man and very valuable 
for the Russian liberation movement. I was very much impressed by these 
people. We were just waiting for the moment when we could start broadcasting 
the news about them to the other side of the front line, towards the 
Soviet troops. 

Meantime, because of the incessant bombardments, life became more and 
more difficult in Berlin, to a point where it was practically impossible to 
work because of the heavy bombardments at night. Transportation was 
disrupted and it was hard to get to the office. The office was also shaken 
up by newly fallen bombs, so finally the higher echelons of the German 
propaganda machine came to a decision that Vineta with all its apparatus should 
be moved to a less vulnerable place than Berlin. It was decided finally to 
move to Konigsberg in East Prussia. Konigsberg, a city which, because of its 
distance, was not yet reachable by the bombers flying from England, so it was 
relatively safe there; not a single bombardment took place in Konigsberg. 
Konigsberg, incidentally, is famous because the great philosopher Immanuel 

- 435 - 

Kant was horn there. 

When we were told that we were going to move to Konigs.herg it was easy 
for me to decide that Tania and I would go there, hut we didn't want to 
separate from Lusha, our servant and trusted friend. 

Chapter 62 Scenario VIII 

To take her with us caused a problem because the Germans didn't allow anyone 
who was not a blood relative of personnel to travel on that special train. 
So my request for her pass was rejected, hut I talked to a fellow who was 
directly involved in arranging the seating in the various carriages of the 
train and he told me to bring Lusha along and he would try to smuggle her 
into the train. The operation was successful; nobody paid any attention that 
she was with us. We found a nice apartment which we shared with other 
people including a German family who owned the house. 

There was only one sour note before leaving Berlin. My aunt Lika and 
uncle Gerasimov were very much upset that we were taking Lusha with, us, 
because she was a great help to them, hut I tried to argue that Lusha was 
a part of our family and we had pledged to support her and never leave her 
alone. So our farewell with Gerasimovs was a little hit cool because of this 

We settled down very comfortably in Konigsherg and it was really a 
great thing not to be exposed to bombardments. Life was very peaceful, but 
I was extremely busy because some new talented people came to work with me in 
the Russian department of Vineta. What was most interesting was that in a 
nearby place, about a 100 miles east of Konigsherg, there was a place called 
Moritzfelde, where there was a gathering place for Soviet defectors who had 
been airforce people. The day came when I was permitted to go and meet these 
people and even to interview them. A recording crew accompanied me and I took 

- 436 - 

an interview for eventual broadcast back to the Soviet side. There I met a 
most remarkable man, named Colonel Maltsev. At one time he was the head of 
the civilian air force in the Soviet Union and also held military rank during 
the war as a colonel. He had the qualities of leadership similar to those 
of Vlasov, and he was destined to play an important role in the Russian 
liberation movement because in addition to the infantry divisions that Vlasov 
got, it was decided also to have an air force. Of course, the Germans 
initially were very reluctant to provide any airplanes to former Soviet pilots 
they were afraid that they would take off and either fly back home, east, 
or to the west, so they screened them very carefully. 

I became a friend of Haltsov. We had many interesting talks. He was 
a well educated and intelligent man and what was interesting, after the seizure 
of the Crimea he was for a short time the mayor of Yalta, the city with which 
so much of my past was tied up, so we talked about Yalta, etc. The head of 
the German military command of that Moritzfelde group was an air force 
officer, Colonel Holster, and his chief interpreter, Adolf Idol, was an Estonian 
by birth but fluent) in Russian. Later, after many years, Idol became a teacher 
in the Defense Language Institute and instructor in the German Department. 
Idol shared completely my views about Russia, he hated the Nazi regime though, 
of course, had to hide it; but he had trust in me and in Maltsov. So gradually 
a group of former Soviet air force pilots organized there. Among them, by 
the way, were two former heroes of the Soviet Union, a Captain Antiletskii and 
Captain Bychkov, who because of their outstanding war record were made Heroes 
of the Soviet Union and got the covered gold star. (See the photograph of me 
during an interview I had with Antiletskii while General Vlasov and other 
people looked on.) 

So my ties with the Moritzfelde outfit, future Russian Liberation Army 
airforce started there. The Germans that is, Colonel Holster were very 

- 437 - 

in leting us bring the former Soviet fliers to Konigsberg. We entertained 
them n our home and in particular became very close friends with Maltsov. 
And lomst say that I was impressed very much by Maltsov 's high standard of 
condut. It was one of those parties that Maltsov attended where a little bit 
light r side of life was presented. Somebody suggested that we play strip 
poker Maltsov didn't know what that was, but when it was explained he blew 
his to, "What!" he exclaimed, "to see Russian girls participating in this 
kind c degredation? Never!" And he walked out, and we had a hard time to 
calm tm down. The standards of morality among the Russian people were much 
highei than in the western world. 

We arrived in Konigsberg in August of 19.43. In November Berlin was very 
heavil bombed and the house in which my Aunt and Uncle, the Gerasimovs, 
lived -as hit. They were in the air raid shelter under the house, but fire 
broke ut in the house and my uncle inhaled so much smoke that he became very 
sick, nd died shortly after that bombardment. When Aunt Lika Gerasimov wrote 
to us nd said that she was left alone, we invited her to come to Konigsberg 
and jon us. She stayed with us for a considerable period of time and then 
went bck to Berlin where she settled with some German friends in one of the 
less vdnerable suburbs of Berlin. She stayed there all through the capture 
of Berin by the Reds and until long after I was already in the United States. 
I corresponded and I sent her packages of food until finally she passed away 
too. bfore that, through friends of mine- some army officers she managed to 
send me the gold cigarette case of my late uncle, a beautiful gold ting for 
my wife and also my uncle's gold watch that I constantly wear. 

onigsberg was located not far from the Baltic Sea and I used to go with 
friends to a very nice summer resort on the shores called Krantz, for fun and 
relaxaton. As I said the life was completely different than in Berlin 
becausewe were not exposed to bombardment. 

- 438 - 

The work of Vineta intensified because finally we were permitted to 
announce the Vlasov movement, and to make broadcasts about the movement, 
above Vlasov, about Maltsov, etc. On several occasions there were clashes, 
usually between my too intense propaganda for the Russian national movement 
and German use of that, so I started to lose the confidence of the Germans. 
They began to suspect that I was not a trustworthy ally. 

My greatest coup with Vineta took place on January 1, 1944. The Soviet 
radio announced that on New Year's Eve they would introduce a new Soviet 
Union anthem. Until then the official anthem was the so-called "Internationale," 
the song of all proletariats, but they said that a new anthem would be 
introduced on New Year's Eve. I immediately alerted all the Germans who had 
responsibility for recording to see to it that the best possible recording 
was made of the new anthem. They did an excellent job and I stayed overnight 
myself in the broadcasting studio listening to it. It is the present Soviet 
anthem. I was interested in the words of that anthem, and the moment that 
I got the recording of the voice I left instructions first of all that the 
Konigsberg philharmonic orchestra should immediately start rehearsing the music 
while I summoned my best writers and poets to write a new wording for the 
anthem which would be pro-Russian but anti-Stalin and anti-communist. And the 
Konigsberg philharmonic and one of the poets did an absolutely excellent job. 
Within one day they managed to prepare the music of that anthem so that by 
the next night they were ready to play it on the radio. One famous singer, who 
was formerly a singer of the Bolshoi theater in Moscow, was given the text of 
the anthem; he rehearsed for a short time with the Konigsberg Philharmonic and 
by midnight we were able to play over the radio the Soviet anthem, but with new 
anti-Stalin, anti-communist wording. It was a beautiful performance and later 
we made several recordings with a soloist vocing the words and with a Russian 
choir that I managed to assemble, and we recorded that. And from that point on 

- 440 - 

he told me after that, "Yes, it was a brilliant rendition of the Liszt piece; 
however, I would prefer to listen to Wagner in its pure form as it was 
written for the opera Tannhauser." That was the only remark which was not 
negative, but still kind of snooty. 

Well, my visits to Moritzfeld and visits with this nucleus organization 
of the Russian liberation air force became more frequent and we became very 
good friends with Maltsov. It should be remembered that on 20 July, 1944, 
an attempt was made on Hitler's life with a bomb blast in his HQ bunker in 
East Prussia not far away from Konigsberg. Everything and everybody was in 
an uproar. We didn't know until late that night whether Hitler was alive or 
dead. Unfortunately, he survived and an order came from Berlin to make a brief 
statement about the event over our radio, emphasizing the point that Hitler was 
not hurt and that all participants in the attempt on his life had been apprehended 

Shortly after that I detected a change in the attitude of my German 
bosses toward me. I felt that they suspected me of something and were not 
happy about (my activities over) playing the Russian anthem, A member of my 
editorial staff told me in confidence that two Gestapo officers from Berlin 
were making an inquiry among members of my staff about me and that questions 
were very searching and that they suspected me of some anti-German activity. 
Narokov and Malchikov the old man told me "Listen, they say that by over 
playing the Russian theme over the radio propaganda you are sabotaging the 
German effort and that deeper inquiries are being made about you." 

Finally, my secretary, pale as death, came to me late a night and said, 
"You know, the Gestapo asked me the most difficult questions about you and 
threatened to arrest us both if I didn't answer their questions." 

- 441 - 
Chapter 63 Scenario IX (new) 

With this chapter I begin a new scenario, the reason being that a complete new 
phase of my life began. I suddenly quit my work with Vineta and joined the 
Russian Liberation Army. 

I had thought of one day joining the ROA, but what prompted my sudden 
decision was the fact that the Gestapo was again after me, breathing down my 
neck. I was confronted with the fact that I might be arrested any day. I 
realized that there was not much time left for me. I had to flee, to try to 
outsmart the Gestapo, so as a result I decided to speed up my plan to join the 
ROA, and to do this immeidately through my friend Colonel Maltsov, who was at 
that time completing formation of his staff in Moritzfeld the German Air 
Force base near Konigsberg which I had visited several times before. And 
that base was charged with the task of helping organization of a Russian 
liberation airforce. 

After a hurried late night discussion at home with my sister Tania and 
my trusted friend Narokov Marchenko who was my best right hand helper in 
Vineta, I told them of my plan. Early next morning I took a train for 
Moritzfelde without notifying anyone at Vineta because I knew that it would be 
immediately known to the Gestapo agents who were after me there. So no one 
knew about my departure, and I instructed Tania and Narokov to tell everybody 
in the office that I was sick and wouldn't come to work that day. The Gestapo 
apparently believed this story and I went to Moritzfelde without being seen 
by anybody while taking the train at the Konigsberg RR station. Upon jny 
unannounced arrival at Moritzfelde I immediately went to see Colonel Maltsev 
and my friend Captain Idol that was his rank in the German Air ForceI told 
them frankly that for all practical purpose I was fleeing the Gestapo and 
asked them to help. Colonel Maltsov 's reaction was very positive and he said: 
"Don't worry, stay with us and I hope we'll be able to process you immediately 

- 442 - 

to become an AF officer under my command in the Russian liberation Air Force." 
Captain Idol also promised to help me by persuading the German side of the 
command to accept me as an officer and to process me, issuing all necessary 
papers on the same day. Idol then left, leaving me alone with Colonel Maltsov. 
Maltsov told me that he was glad I was joining him, that he would make me a 
member of his staff in charge of propaganda, and that he was looking forward 
to working with me at his headquarters. He also told me that if the Germans 
approved my commission I should stay in Moritzfelde with him as long as it 
was needed to do all of the paperwork which involved issuance to me of a 
German ID card which also served for issuing my salary. He also told me that 
his (Maltsov's) staff was moving to Karlsbad, where the nucleus of his 
organization was already located and that I should go there at once. Karlsbad, 
otherwise called Karlovyi Vari, is a famous spa in Czechoslovakia. 

Finally, Captain Idol came, after his talk with his German military 
bosses, with a big smile on his face. "So Captain Albov," he addressed me, 
"you are no longer a civilian employee in Vineta but a captain in the Russian 
liberation air force. Captain is the highest rank that we are authorized 
to give anybody, however we recognize that your position in Vineta was equivalent 
to a colonel or at least a major, hut that promotion may come later. Now, 
in our office here we will try our best to prepare your documents as soon as 

And by the late afternoon of the same day everything was ready. I had 
all the documents in my hand proving that I was a captain in the Russian 
liberation air force, which was logistically under the German air force. I 
had travel orders, or in German Mar schgef ehl , instructing me to leave immediately 
for Karlsbad, Czechoslovakia, which was at that time under German rule, and 
a money voucher for travel expenses. So this time I had managed to outsmart 
the Gestapo, since they couldn't touch me now without going through the highest 

- 443 - 

echelons of the air force command. I was elated. I thanked my saviors 
Colonel Maltsov and Captain Idol and the German Colonel Holster, Commanding 
Officer of the Moritzefelde base, who pretended that he didn't know the 
hidden motive of my joining the military in such a hurried manner. I had time 
to have a drink with Maltsov and Idol before taking the evening train back 
to Konigsberg. 

Upon returning I told my sister Tania what had transpired, and told her 
that I would go next morning to my office and tell my German Vineta bosses 
that I was quitting my position, since I had joined the army, that is the 
air force. I asked Tania and Lusha to help me pack my suitcase since I 
planned to leave Konigsberg as soon as possible. I talked to Tania and Lusha 
hours into the night and told them about my plans. I said that as soon as I 
was settled in Karlsbad I would arrange for them to come there too. I would 
do that with the help of Maltsov, who knew both my sister Tania and Lusha. 
He liked Lusha because she always made for him the dishes that he liked best. 

Well, after getting up early in the morning I went to the Vineta 
office. After a short talk with Narokov I told him that I would go to see 
our German bosses and tell them that I would recommend him as the man to 
take over the Russian department of Vineta after me. He was a little reluctant, 
he said, "I don't know any German," he said. "It does not matter,"! replied, 
"you have a staff of Russians who know German well so there would be no 
proble. You are the best man for the job,." 

So I went to my German Vineta bosses. They were surprised and shocked, 
but apparently they realized the reason behind it, because certainly they were 
aware of the Gestapo inquiries about me and the threat of my imprisonment. 
Anyhow I told them that I was staying only that particular day in Tineta 
because the next day I was leaving for Karlsbad. My staff hurriedly prepared 
a farewell party and presented me with a very nicely written address stating 

- 444 - 

how much they appreciated my work, how much they enjoyed working under my 
guidance for our very important mission in combating communism in Russia. 
Then I introduced Mr. Marchenko-Narokov to them and told them that he would 
be their boss from now on. And so that was the end; and when I left them 
I saw quite a few tears on the faces of some of the ladies, particularly my 
secretaries. I didn't make any long speech, I just said a few words, telling 
that I was going to continue my fight against communism in probably the most 
effective way, with the Russian liberation movement. 

I spent the rest of the day in obtaining my railroad ticket and 
sleeper accommodation for the night train that I had to take for Berlin, 
where I had to change trains and go from Berlin to Karlsbad. So in the evening 
I went to board my train accompanied by some of my friends. There were some 
unfamiliar faces around too, and I suspect that some Gestapo people were also 
there to see me leaving Konigsberg. 

Well, I got a first class compartment in the sleeper and settled down 
for the night. And here a strange thing happened. We were due to arrive in 
Berlin early in the morning. I slept quite well, and then I was awakened by 
some talk outside my compartment door. I listened carefully since I realized 
that some people were talking about me. Somebody who was asking the conductor 
about me, and I heard him say "Yes, this man in civilian clothes is going 
to Berlin; his destination is the zoo station." A train arriving in Berlin 
goes through several stations located in various parts of this huge city. 
The first is the Schlesischer Bahnhof or station, and then a couple of more 
stations, and finally the Station am Zoo, or Zoo, near the Zoological Garden. 
I had to get off the train at that station and then go by taxi to another 
railroad station, called the Anhalter Bahnhof to get a daylight train for 

So the conversation continued and the conductor said, "Yes, this civilian 

- 445 - 

has military orders, and he is going to get off the train at the Zoo station." 
I realized that the other was a Gestapo man who had probably accompanied me 
all the way to Berlin, so I was again in danger of being snatched by the 
Gestapo. I had to think fast. I hurriedly dressed, packed my suitcase 
and decided that instead of getting off the train at the Zoo station I would 
get off at the Schlesischer Bahnhof. The train goes very slowly through 
the city of Berlin so that I thought that I had a chance to get off the 
train unnoticed at that very first station which was located in the outskirts 
of Berlin. 

When I was all ready I opened carefully the door of my compartment and 
looked around and it so happened that no one was there . 1 knew where the 
conductor usually sat so I took my suitcase and dashed in the opposite 
direction toward the other door of the carriage. And as soon as I was well 
hidden I stood in front of the car door waiting for the train to stop at 
the Schlesischer Bahnhof (as soon as the train stopped) then I opened the 
door and stepped out, dragging my suitcase, and left the station. Apparently 
for the second time I managed to fool the Gestapo, for they were expecting me 
to get off the train at the much later Zoo Station. At the Schlesischer 
Bahnhof I called a porter and asked him to get me a taxi, got in and told the 
driver to drive me immediately to the Anhalter Bahnhof. There the train which 
was supposed to take me to Karlsbad was already at the platform, and I got 
into that train with no difficulty. 

I bought some German newspapers and sat by the window of one of the 
compartments it was no longer a sleeper. Soon other people came on the 
train, my compartment filled with German officers. They looked at me, 
surprised at seeing a civilian; they didn't ask me anything, but before the 
train moved a military patrol, the so-called Field gendarmerie, moved through 
the train asking everyone for their ID cards. When they came to our compartment 

- 446 - 

everybody produced their military ID cards. They looked at mine and every 
thing was all right, so they saluted and let me depart. The officers realized 
that I was also an officer. There was some small talk; but I was reluctant 
to talk. It was obvious that I was not a German, that I was a foreigner, so 
I just told them that I was a captain of the newly formed Russian Liberation 
Army. Fortunately there were no SS officers in the group, but just regular army 
officers who were quite sympathetic to me. 

We arrived at Karlsbad late in the evening. I went to a hotel and 
then down to the restaurant to eat my supper. And there I got a shock. 
During the war at every place where people gathered in Germany there were loud 
speakers transmitting the latest news. So, while waiting for my meal I 
hear the announcement that Konigsberg had been bombed for the first time 
and that the city had suffered heavy damage. I was very much concerned about 
Tania and Lusha, and hurried to the post office to sent a telegram. In the 
morning I received a reply from Tania, saying that both she and Lusha were 
all right and were hoping that I would soon call for them. 

I moved to another hotel where the headquarters of the Vlasov movement 
was located. There at Karlsbad I reported to the Russian commanders including 
Vlasov himself. Maltsov came a few days after that and then his headquarters 
moved into a little place in the outskirts of Karlsbad called Wochhau. 
It was a nice place near a forest; with barracks occupied probably in the 
past by the Czech troops, now they were put at the disposal of Colonal 
Maltsov and so we settled down in Wochhau. 

Karlsbad was within an easy bus ride from Wochhau, and so I went 
often to Karslbad. 

Finally everything was set in Wochhau and I got my uniform and my pistol 
a German Luger automatic pistol and then I got all the insignia identifying 
me as an officer of the Russian Liberation Army. I was told by Colonel Maltsov 

- 447 - 

to start work immediately and I was put in charge of the propaganda section. 
A certain Major Kaiuov was in charge of that outfit, but Maltsov was displeased 
with him and I was going to replace him. However, there was one delicate 
matter. Kaiuov was a major and I was a captain. It wasn't right for a captain 
to take over a position assigned for a major hut Maltsov managed to solve 
the problem. He went to German liaison command and within a short time I was 
promoted to major and given a major's uniform. 

Karlsbad had also been spared any bombardment, although air alerts 
were sounded pretty frequently there because Karlsbad was on the air route 
for British and American bombers flying from bases in Africa or Italy. They 
were going to Berlin or to the eastern part of Germany so they flew overhead 
but never dropped bomds on Karlsbad. Karlsbad had been proclaimed an open 
city because there were many hospitals, etc. One day I went to the famous 
Karlsbad hot springs to take a bath and while sitting in the bathtub I heard 
a familiar sound of wailing sirens, signifying that air attack was imminent. 

Chapter 64 Scenario IX 

Somebody knocked at my door and said, "Get into the air raid shelter!" But 
I didn't have time to do that because I was in the tub and it would take me 
time to dress. So I just resigned myself to stay there hoping that the bombs 
would not hit the bathhouse. They didn't. As a matter of fact it was a very 
light air raid with a few b.omb,s dropped only in the area of the railroad 
station. So I had a very nice hot bath and dressed, and returned to my place 
in Wochhau. 

By that time the situation on the eastern and western fronts was very 
bad for the Germans. From east and west the Allied and Soviet troops were 
tightening their grip and occupying more and more territory. They were closing 
the ring around the remnants of the Nazi Reich. I will not give any dates 

- 448 - 

or any map readings as far as war is concerned; I will just describe what 
happened to me. 

So, as I said, I was appointed a major in charge of the propaganda with 
the Russian liberation air force. Wochhau, the little camp located in the 
vicinity of Karlsbad, served first of all as the headquarters of Colonel 
Maltsov, commanding officer of the Russian Liberation Air Force and also as 
a reception center for all the captured Soviet fliers who specially desired 
to serve with the Russian Liberation Army. After a special screening 
by Colonel Maltsov's staff, they were sent to me for indoctrination. After 
receiving uniforms these people were then assigned to other camps where they 
had to serve with the units to which they belonged. For instance, fliers 
were sent to Eger, on the German-Czech border. The former anti-aircraft 
personnel were sent to an AA unit which was located at a place called Plan, 
not far from Karlsbad. Others, former paratroopers, were sent to another camp. 
The commanding officer of the AA artillery of the Russian Liberation Army 
was a good friend of mine, Colonel Vasil'ev, whom I knew for many years as an 
officer in the Yugoslav army. He too was a former officer of the Russian army. 
His second in command was Colonel Shebalin, who also had lived in Yugoslavia. 

My responsibilites as the head of propaganda were very demanding and 
time consuming. First of all, as I said before, I had to screen and 
indoctrinate all of the incoming personnel, and then it was followed up by 
my further very frank discussions with, gatherings of officers and enlisted men 
of the Russian Liberation Army air force personnel. I managed to establish 
a good rapport with them, and I asked them to ask any questions without 
hesitation. I tried to organize these meetings in such a way and under such 
conditions as to b.e sure that the Germans wouldn't hear what we were talking 
about, because many questions asked by these people referred to our relationship 
with the Germans. I had to be frank. I told them that we hated the Germans 

- 449 - 

as much as they did and we wanted to use German help only for one purpose, 
to overthrow the communist regime of Stalin. I knew that I was walking a 
very dangerous path, talking that way, because who knew there were probably 
some eyes and ears of the Gestapo implanted among these people. 

In addition to these indoctrination discussions I was responsible for 
preparing a daily report for Colonel Maltsov about the situation on the 
Western and Eastern fronts. For that purpose I had a powerful receiver to 
which I listened for many hours of the day and night and really my sleep was 
cut into short segments because of the importance of listening to certain 
programs coming from either the West (usually the BBC) or the Soviet Union. 
By morning I had to summarize into Russian language the report of the major 
events and I had two secretaries to whom I dictated this report, and by the 
time of Colonel Maltsov' s staff meeting I was ready with my report. Moreover, 
I initiated a project of putting out a newspaper, because we had to provide 
the latest news, information, etc., to the personnel of the liberation army 
air force. Therefore, I organized a newspaper which was called OUR WINGS. 
Technically it was impossible to print it anywhere but in Prague. It was a 
weekly newspaper and all the materials for it were prepared by some talented 
writers in my propaganda outfit and was sent by courier to Prague, where they 
were printed and then copies were brought by courier and distributed among 
the Air Force personnel. We moved soon, with the rest of the headquarters 
of the liberation army airforce to a more comfortable location at a place 
called Marienbad. Marienbad was not far from Karlsbad and it was also renowned 
for its hot springs. It was a beautiful place, and a very nice first class 
hotel was requisitioned as Colonel Maltsov 's headquarters. I got a 2 room 
suite, so I had a place to sleep and to listen to the radio, etc. My 
secretary lived in the next room and could come to me at any hour. She was 
a charming lady of Estonian origin, and she helped me a lot in translation, 

- 450 - 

particularly with the German communiques and of course I had to dictate to 
her information for my daily report. 

Incidentally, just a few years ago, in 1976, after a period of 30 years, 
I got a letter from her from Heidelberg where she lives now with her family. 
She still addressed me as 'Major'; I had to laugh at that. 

After Maltsov's headquarters settled down in Marienbad I managed 
with his help to bring my sister Tania and our old servant Lusha there. He 
also helped me to get Mrs. Loban, my cousin through marriage to my cousin, 
a job there as a secretary. It was nice to have the family together again, 
so to speak. Nick Bostrand was also among the officers of Maltsov's 
Liberation Air force, the same who is on the picture taken in Varna in 1921 
(when the story of the gold watch was developing). He, after the war, managed 
to get to Mexico, where he is now representative of an American industrial 
concern, and it was he who returned that gold watch of my late uncle to me. 

Another kind of work no less demanding but more pleasant was my 
responsibility for the entire entertainment field for the fliers and personnel 
of the Liberation Air force. I was given the task of organizing the visiting 
groups of singers, dancers, etc., and I had some very interesting contacts 
through this. One such contact was with lurii Morfesii, a famous Russian 
singer who had started his career even before the Revolution, and has had 
many records made of his songs. I invited him to join my entertainment group 
which he did with great pleasure. 

Then another shadow from the past appeared; I probably narrated 
previously that at one time, when I was a school b,oy, I enjoyed playing the 
balalaika, and that at one time in Odessa I was in a balalaida orchestra 
under the baton of a man called Ogorelov-Amerikov. He added the hyphenated 
name after his visit to America before WW I. Now, suddenly, this man reappeared 
there in Marienhad with his little balalaika orchestra, and we had a very warm 

- 451 - 

meeting. We also had outstanding ballet dancers visit us and I must say that 
there were a few romantic adventures with some of them. 

The only unpleasant part of our living in that hotel in Marienbad 
was the cold, because the fuel supply was very short and therefore we 
shiverred incur rooms as it was already late fall and almost the beginning 
of winter. 

Often I travelled with Maltsov in his staff car to visit other units 
of the air force, mainly in Eger and to Plan. One day, while we were travelling 
in a caravan of 3 cars to Plan, an airplaine appeared overhead strafed the 
road and so we had to jump from the car and run into the bushes, not a very 
pleasant experience. Neither cars nor any one of us were hit, hut it was a 
strange feeling; all of my sympathies were with those who were flying overhead, 
but my immediate instinct was for survival. 

The Germans were very reluctant to supply our airforce with planes and 
they usually supplied trainers unarmed aircraftand restricted the quantity 
of gas because they were afraid that one day some of the fliers might fly 
away either to the east or to the west. As far as the ability to fly the 
aircraft was concerned, the Soviet fliers were really outstanding. Even 
the Germans were very much impressed by them. They were particularly impressed 
by the Hero of the Soviet Union, Uchkov. His acrobatics in the air were 
absolutely fantastic, but after seeing him perform the Germans requested that 
he stop that because they were afraid that he might crash and hit the living 
quarters of Germans, 

The time had come to get some more airplaines, and one day I was 
told by Colonel Maltsov that I had to go on the train to Berlin and to meet 
there General Aschenhrenner of the German airforce who was liaison with 
both Vlasov and Maltsov; I was to return to Eger with a new airplane baing 
released to Maltsov 1 s airforce, I also took advantage of this opportunity to 

- 452 - 

get myself equipped for the winter and went to the place in Berlin where the 
air force personnel were issued with fur lined helmets, jackets, etc. Whilst 
talking to Aschenbrenner about the delivery of that particular airplane, which 
happened to be a reconnaissance type of Messerschmidt 110 or ME 110, I was 
told that 2 former Soviet pilots were going to fly this craft to Eger and 
that I could fly with them. I was delighted. 

In my talks with General Aschenbrenner I also brought up something 
that had bothered me for a long time. Maltsov was a head of the Russian 
Liberation Army airforce and he was still only a colonel. I knew that Vlasov 
had proposed that Maltsov be promoted to a general's rank. However, the actual 
promotion within the Russian Liberation Army depended upon the Germans, simply 
because it was they who had to pay us, and to put us on the appropriate pay 
scale of colonel or general. So I had a nice talk about this with General 
Aschenbrenner, who told me that there would be no problem, and that he would 
see to it that Maltsov he immediately promoted to general officer's rank. 
As a matter of fact he promised to do that while I was still in Berlin and he 
told me that I could take General Maltsov the news, together with a case of 
vodka that was given to our headquarters. 

So, the three of us, the two captains, former Soviet fliers in German 
uniforms with the Russian insignia and myself in a major's uniform went to 
the airport. We loaded the plane with lots of other materials needed by 
Maltsov 1 s headquarters not forgetting the case of vodka, and then we were 
briefed about how to fly to Eger. The two pilots didn't speak any German at 
all, and my German was rusty, but I was the only interpreter in the crucial 
briefing about the flight pattern. Well, we were given the map and we were shown 
it several times. I did my b,est to explain everything to the pilots, and they 
explained how we should fly. They said the first leg would he to Dresden, 
almost due south of Berlin, and when flying over Dresden we had to turn southeast 

- 453 - 

and fly over the city of Chemnitz, now called Karl Marx Stadt in the Eastern 
Zone of Germany, and then from Chemnitz we again had to turn due south to 
Eger. Seeing that the Russian pilots were somewhat confused, the German flight 
control man told us that the best way was to fly low, following the railroad 
track first to Dresden, and from there to Chemnitz, and from there due south 
to Eger, but actually it wasn't so simple. 

Chapter 65 Scenario IX 

After they had briefed us about the flight plan, which I had difficulty 
in getting across to the Russian pilots, they also requested a chart of the 
control panel of the airplane. So one was brought and they studied it very 
carefully. Then we went to and boarded the plane. With the chart and with my 
help in translating, they looked for all the knobs, switches, etc., everything 
that was necessary for flying. These experienced pilots seemed to have no 

difficulty in following the instructions as to which knobs to use to start the 

engine, etc. 

So we were ready to take off, the canopy was pulled down and the three 
of us were settled cozily in the airplane. It was a bright, clear, sunny 
winter's day, so I didn't foresee any difficulties in following the railroad 
track if we flew in low enough. However, we experienced the first difficulty 
when we took off, because the Germans assigned us the least used airstrip 
which was covered with a thin layer of ice, so when our plane veered around the 
airstrip it was like a car on the ice and turned almost around. The Russian 
pilots were cursing the Germans for having assigned them this ice covered 
airstrip, on which the plane was almost lost. I thought we shouldn't take off 
from this airstrip, but the pilots said they could make it, and they really did 
an excellent job, so that in no time we were airborne. 

- 454 - 

Initially everything went fine, as we were flying very low following 
the railroad track, easily visible in the bright winter sun. However, south 
of Berlin, before we came to Dresden, we ran into some banks of fog which 
interferred with our seeing the railroad tracks. But in addition to the 
tracks they of course had made all necessary preparations as far as flying 
by the compass points on their map. So we flew over Dresden without any trouble 
at all; then we turned southwest to fly in the direction of Chemnitz. We only 
forgot one thing, that winter days are very short. Even when we were over 
Dresden the sun was already pretty well down and it was beginning to get dark. 
Even when we flew over Chemnitz it was almost sundown, and I was worried 
that since there were no lights anywhere all of Germany was blacked out, of 
course I was afraid that we might be approaching our area, Eger, in complete 
darkness. So when the pilots pointed out to me that we were flying over 
Chemnitz and I looked down I saw that there was an open airport, I suggested: 
"Why don't we land here, stay overnight, and continue to Eger in the morning?" 

"Oh no," they said, "it is a relatively short flight and we hope that 
we can still reach Eger before it is dark." 

Well, they were experienced pilots and I believe them but I wasn't 
so happy about that. The moment we left the Chemnitz area we were flying 
over a wooded mountainous region where fog gradually began to cover all of the 
landscape below us. That bothered me, and finally the pilots became kind 
of unhappy about it too as they felt that we were lost disoriented and then 
they told me that according to Soviet flight instructions if lost they had 
to continue on course for five minutes and then turn around and return to the poin 
known to them. We were practically flying over the treetops, which were 
shrouded in fog. It was not a very pleasant experience since it was a 
mountainous area and we couldn't see far ahead of us. Finally, the five 
minutes were almost up; that is, the time had come to turn and go back, when 

- 455 - 

we noticed a railroad track down below. Then I looked to my left and saw a 
big building which I immediately recognized as the Marienbad railway station. 
So I shouted to the pilot "This is Marienbad! There is a landing strip there 
somewhere, and we can find it." He nodded and we flew along the railroad 
track and over the station. It was almost completely dark when we saw the 
airport but it was all covered with snow; only the silhouette of the 
airplanes, also covered with snow, were visible. The pilots made a circle 
over the airport, but then we saw a red rocket go up, which signified that 
landing was not permitted. The pilot just laughed and said to his friend, 
"Whether they like it or not, we are going to land here." It was really a hair 
raising experience since we didn't see any airstrips on which to land. A split 
second decision had to be made, but as I said the two former Soviet pilots 
were experienced men. They made another approach, another red signal rocket 
was fired from the airport, but disregarding the signal they made a final 
approach and we found ourself rolling through the deep snow and came to a 
stop. Some people came running toward us from the airport buildings, waving 
their hands. We stepped out of the airplane and when I opened my mouth the 
German air force people immediately realized that we were not native Germans, and 
they became very suspicious about us, since Marienbad had not been informed 
about an airplane which was destined to land in Eger, about 25 or 30 miles 
to the west. So in the best German I could muster, I produced the papers 
that I had and they invited us in to the airport building. There they invited 
us to a room, offered to bring us some hot drinks and then left us and locked 
the door behind them. I told them to get in touch with Eger. Se we were 
waiting there, actually like prisoners of war, with a guard outside of our door 
and waiting the result of their communications with Eger. 

In about an hour, however, everything was settled and they came back and 

- 456 - 

said "Yes, we now know everything that happened." According to instructions 
given by General Maltsov from Eger, we were to stay overnight in Marienbad 
and then the Germans would take us to the train and next morning we would proceed 
to Eger. I requested that a couple of German soldiers help us to bring every 
thing into the quarters assigned to us, including the precious case of vodka, 
so when everything was brought in I sighed in relief. It was really one of 
the most hair-raising flying experiences in my life, including the one already 
described from Warsaw to Bucharest just before the outbreak of World War II. 

The next day before noon we were taken by train to Eger, we were met 
by our people there. I reported to General Maltsov, and everything was all 
right. They decided to deliver the plane to Eger later. There were no 
reprimands at all when I explained to General Matlsov what had happened, and 
the pilots explained how the Germans in Berlin had given us insufficient 
instructions. That was in February 1945. 

We were expecting a visit by General Vlasov to inspect General Maltsov' s 
Russian Liberation Army air force now gathered in the area of Eger. We heard 
over the radio that on the 23rd of February, the day before General Vlasov 
was due to arrive at Eger, that Berlin was bombed terribly by waves of 
American planes attacking during the day and that the British attacked the 
burning city during the night, but fortunately Vlasov survived this attack and 
managed to come to Eger. We had planned a reception during the evening for 
Vlasov and his staff and I was in charge of all the arrangements for a concert, 
dinner, etc. All my concert groups including the Caucasian dancers, balalaika 
players and singers were ready, and we presented a really good show. 

Vlasov, like many other great men in history, had only one weakness. 
He liked the company of ladies very much and was always looking for an 
opportunity to have a little affair. I didn't quite realize that at that time, 
but it was very dramatically brought home to me at the end of the banquet and 

- 457 - 

concert. Before leaving, going to my assigned quarters, General Maltsov told 
me that Vlasov was calling for me to report to him. I went to him and he took 
me aside so that no one would hear and he said, "Major! You are in charge 
of the propaganda unit, and I believe that all of these actors and actresses 
are under your command." 

"Yes, general," I replied. 

"All right. That lady who sang the last number in the concert ask 
her please to come with me in my car to my quarters." 

I was surprised, but, it was the General's order. I didn't really 
know how the lady would react to this kind of invitation, but when I went to 
her I told her about General Vlasov' s invitation, she said, "Oh yes, of course! 
I would be delighted to keep him company!" So I accompanied her to the car 
in which General Vlasov was already waiting and off she went with him. 

There is really nothing unusual in this little episode that I have 
just described as in time of troubles, moral standards are usually lowered 
very much and therefore adventures with women become normal occurrences. I 
myself had many adventures with the women who I was surrounded with, including 
my attractive secretary and beautiful ballet dancers, one of whom, a very 
attractive and charming Polish girl, was my steady companion at that time. 

The next day, after a reception and concert on his behalf General Vlasov 
inspected the troops of the airforce outfits under command of General Maltsov. 
This moment, before the inspection, I recorded on a photograph which I have 
in my files. In that photograph I am standing next to General Vlasov, and 
on his left is General Aschenbrenner, whom I have mentioned. 

After the inspection there was a meeting of the staff of officers of 
both Vlasov and Maltsov, including myself. We were discussing problems facing 
the Russian Liberation Army and the movement as a whole, since Germany, pressed 
from east and west, was on the brink of collapse. By that time two divisions 

- 458 - 

of Vlasov's army had been fully organized and equipped, but Maltsov's unit was 
only partially equipped because the Germans were very reluctant to provide 
Maltsov with fast flying combat airplanes. So our airforce consisted mostly 
of transport aircraft of the same type in which I made the trip from Berlin 
to Marienbad. Interestingly, during the day when Maltsov's staff was assembled, 
somebody told him that there was a special movie detachment of the Russian 
Liberation Army which would like to take a movie of Maltsov and his staff. So 
we assembled in a conference room and the crew came along with the movie 
cameras and took pictures of us sitting in chairs and then talking to each 
other, etc. It was fine until we learned several weeks after that the entire 
movie outfit had managed to go back to the Soviet side. They were actually 
guided by a Soviet secret agent. So their is no doubt that somewhere in the 
archives of the KGB there is a film showing Maltsov's staff, including me. I 
was wondering whether they knew that in 1974 when they granted me and my wife 
Tecla a visa to go and visit Russia. If they knew they certainly decided 
to forget it. 

In the evening we had a final secret conference with General Vlasiv, 
and, as I said before, as a precautionary measure this conference was held in 
the bathroom with closed doors and running water since everyone was aware 
that the Germans probably had listening devices everywhere. This was attended 
by Vlasov, Maltsov and a few other staff officers, and myself, 

Vlasov was very frank. He declared once more that he hated the 
Germans, but that he was determined to use them to get all the necessary 
weapons and equipment and try to build up the Russian Liberation Army. He 
still hoped to get the Russian people on his side and after toppling Stalin's 
regime he would turn around and hit the Germans, trying to do that in alliance 
with the western European countries, that is France, England and the United 
States. These were dreams, because the actual events were not as rosy as Vlasov 

- 459 - 

believed because militarily, politically and economically, Germany, in these 
last months before the end of the war, was on the brink of collapse and 
the enemy forces both in the west and east were inarching through Germany 
practially unopposed. On the German side all the men and boys were thrown 
into the armed forces, in a last ditch effort, but it was too late. 

Now our only problem, as far as the Russian Liberation Army was concerned, 
was how to get in touch with the Americans first of all, since they were 
approaching the area where we were located, and to persuade them to accept 
our idea about the fight against the communist Stalin regime. But these 
also were only dreams. We didn't realize the strength of the Soviet influence 
on the leaders of the United States and the allies in general. Probably 
Churchill was the only man who realized the danger of communism, while neither 
President Roosevelt nor General Eisenhower had the slightest idea about it. 
Stalin, the greatest murderer of all times, was "Uncle Joe" and the Soviet 
Union was a "glorious ally". People could not understand the distinction 
between the Russian people and the communist rulers. The Russian people 
wanted to defeat the German invaders but they didn't want to fight for Stalin 
and communism. They were fighting because Stalin had at the last moment 
changed his policy toward the church and religion. He even restored the old 
Tsarist uniform and started to glorify the old heroes of the Russian imperial 
past and created medals bearing their names. 

Chapter 66 Scenario IX 

After Vlasov's visit we all returned to our headquarters, the hotel 
in Marienbad, where routine work continued. However, things were moving fast 
and we knew that Germany was going to collapse very soon. We were hoping 
that the American army would enter Czechoslovakia and occupy Marienbad, where 
we were near the German border, and that we would surrender to the Americans. 

- 460 - 

The plans were made, as I said before, to communicate, to establish contact 
with the Americans, but at that time, the beginning of March, the idea had not 
yet fully crystallized. The only thing was that we were determined to propose 
to the allies that we should go with them; we were naively hoping that after 
destroying Nazism the allies would be willing, with the help of the Russian 
people, to topple the terrible regime of Stalinism and Bolshevism in Russia. 
However, we did not realize then that they were only dreams. We were not even 
aware of the agreements reached between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at 
Yalta, which among other things stipulated that all the prisoners of war 
should be returned to their native lands, if necessary by force. It was the 
most shameful resolution and even after thirty years the documents dealing 
with that forcible repatriation of the anti-communist Russians to the Soviet 
Union still have not been made available for public scrutiny. There have been 
a few books published on the subject, one called Operation Keelhaul, but the 
archives in London and Washington have still not released all the documents 
pertaining to that forcible repatriation of the anti-communist Russians to 
the Soviet Union which were marked by mass suicides and terrible scenes, when 
women killed their children rather than return them to the Soviet yoke. The 
Yalta agreement provided for a forcible return to the Soviet Union not only 
of PW's but of all Soviet civilians. 

In the meanwhile, through March and the beginning of April 1945, our 
routine work in Marienbad, in Maltsov's headquarters continued. As I said 
one of my duties was to listen to radio broadcasts coming from the Soviet 
side but I also heard broadcasts from the west, primarily from the BBC. On 
the 12th of April I learned of the death of President Roosevelt. I immediately 
reported on that to Maltsov. I also reported that the name of the new president 
was Truman, but of course being far removed from the United States I didn't 
know anything about him and couldn't give any data to General Maltsov in my 

- 461 - 

daily briefing. In these daily briefings we discussed all kinds of problems 
involving our troops and lots of other refugees who came to this area in 
Czechoslovakia, fleeing before the rapidly advancing Soviet troops. General 
Maltsov's chief of staff was a certain Colonel Vaniushin, a colonel of the 
Soviet air force. He confided to us that he had been attached to the Far 
Eastern command of Marshal Blucher and was working on developing the battle 
plan for war against Japan. Colonel Vaniushin 's knowledge of these Soviet 
plans played an important role in the events in the future, which I will 
describe later. 

Shortly after the middle of April the situation became unbearable, and 
it was decided that we, with all the available units of the liberation 
army air force, should move from Marienbad toward the south, in the general 
direction of Regensburg. We were afraid that the Americans, for some reason, 
would not come to Czechoslovakia, and that the Soviets would come first. We 
didn't know, at that time, that this already had been agreed upon by the High 
Command of the Allied and Soviet armies, which was a stupid thing, because the 
Allied forces could have taken all of Czechoslovakia including Prague and 
also Berlin without any difficulties because the Germans were ready to surrender 
to the Allies rather than the Soviet Union and were putting their last efforts 
into fighting the Soviet troops. 

So it was decided at our headquarters that we move from Marienbad down 
south. We had some trucks and cars available to us, however, gasoline was in 
very short supply, therefore most of the people just walked. The big exodus 
started in the middle of April 1945. Our first stop was at a place called 
Spitzberg. Then we moved farther south to a place called Eisenstein, where we 
stayed a couple of days. Near the area where we were billeted there was a 
PW camp for British officers. Since we were already ignoring our German 
liaison officers and bosses I established contact with these PWs. I walked 

- 462 - 

with the senior officer of that group, a Colonel, through the forest adjacent 
to their camp. They were more or less free to do that. He was very much 
interested in our Russian Liberation Movement, but he was baffled by the 
fact that we were wearing German uniforms. It took me several hours of 
explanation to tell him the background of our movement so that he realized 
that we were not pro-Nazi traitors and quislings but rather Russian patriots 
who considered communism as great an evil as Nazi fascism. Before moving 
from Eisenstein farther south I decided to leave these British officers with 
my radio, a huge receiver, a very fine one, so I got a couple of enlisted men 
from our unit and told them to carry it to the barracks where the British 
were. The German officers saw that and tried to stop me, saying, "What are 
you doing? Where are you carrying that radio set?" 

"To leave it with the British PW's," I said. 

"It is against the rules," they said. 

"I couldn't care less about your rules," I replied. "Here we go by 
our command and our rules. Get out of my way!" 

He was apparently quite impressed by the tone of my voice and did not 
interfere with delivery of the radio set to the British PWs. 

At one time we were driving in a truck when an allied straffing plane 
appeared over the road and started to strage our convoy. Our old maid and 
friend Lusha who was of course with us unfortunately broke her leg when certain 
people jumped out. That was a calamity. She was in great pain and we could 
barely help to bring her back on the truck. There was no medical help until 
we reached the next stop, Defferlich. There a doctor helped bandage her 
leg and ordered her to lie down, but how could we keep her lying down when 
we were constantly on the move? General Maltsov was very much attached to our 
Lusha and he liked her looking. Tania was. staying with her and they were driving 
in a car. 

- 463 - 

A very long night march was accomplished. We covered over 25 miles 
in one night. I got very tired and developed blisters on my feet. Early in 
the morning, our column again marched, in the general direction of Leisel, 
American planes appeared and started straffing our column. The order was given 
to scatter. I rushed to the shelter of the nearest trees, covered myself 
with a camouflaged piece of tent and listened to the whistle of the bullets 
falling around. 

When we reached a certain point, Linzberg, we stopped. Some other units 
arrived and there was a big gathering of Maltsov's force. Here it was finally 
decided, with Aschenbrenner, who also appeared there, that we had to establish 
contact with the Americans at once. Since the only people in Vlasov's head 
quarters who knew English were my sister and I, we were ordered to prepare 
first of all a letter to the American command. The letter was written, typed 
by my sister Tania, and we gave it to a soldier, who was provided with a 
bicycle and was told to attach a white flag to the bicycle and go as fast as 
he could to the American lines which were not far away at that point. So 
off he went. 

At the same time the Germans they had some SS units around who were 
beginning to put up a line of defense between our area and the Americans. 
That was our greatest danger, because the SS fanatics were determined to fight 
to the end and not let anyone go over to the allies. We were waiting for 
our bicycle man to return but he didn't come back, so Maltsov asked me to 
take his car and driver- and try to establish contact myself. 

So I drove in the direction of the road leading toward Svizl. Fortunately 
we managed to get through unobserved by the scattered SS units in that area. 
Then I saw an American open jeep with a sub-machine gun mounted on it coming 
toward us. I ordered the driver to stop the car, we both stepped out, and 
I pulled out my white handkerchief and waved it. We stood there while the jeep 

- 464 - 

came toward us. It was in the no-mans-land between the area occupied by the 
Germans and the Americans. To my relief I saw on the jeep our bicycle 
messenger, who recognized me, and waved at me. 

A Lieutenant Colonel stepped out of the jeep and came toward me. I 
saluted him and told him who I was, that I would like to negotiate the 
transfer of the people of our units and the refugees who had attached to our 
unit to the American side. The colonal was a little bit cool; he put an 
American soldier into our car and we all drove to the American headquarters 
of that area. The Lieutenant Colonel, whose name was Miller, started to ask 
me about my background, and I told him that among other things in my past I 
had been a United Press correspondent in Belgrade, and it would be easy for 
him to verify that fact if he would check with the United Press representatives 
somewhere on the front line. The driver, the hicycle messenger and I were 
kept under guard for about two hours, and then Colonel Miller came, all smiles. 
He said, "Yes, now I know who you are; the United Press confirmed that, and 
your identity. First of all, let's celebrate," and he invited me to the 
most wonderfully sumptuous meal, with lots of drinks topped by a bottle of 
champagne. I was relaxed and overwhelmed. Then he said, "All right, the 
first thing in the morning we will take you to higher headquarters, the head 
quarters of a tank corps commander of the Third Army. 

The next morning, after driving about an hour and half by jeep, I was 
taken to the corps commander, a Major General Kennedy, The general asked me 
to tell the whole story about the Vlasov movement, about the units that I was 
representing, etc. And so I started to talk. And, as so often happens in a 
time of crisis, one gets some kind of inspiration. I never talked so persuasively 
with such emotion, with such good English, as I talked with that General. I 
told him everything! I told him the story of how the communists seized power, 
about the struggle of the Russian people against communism, and about how 

- 465 - 

communism spawned nazism, the whole long story and how it came about that the 
Russians were ready to accept German help in order to topple the hated Stalin 
regime. He listened very carefully, without any interruption. There was no 
one else in the room. He then asked some questions and after finishing my 
talk I suddenly realized that I had poured out my soul, and probably it all 
just went for nothing. So I asked him, "General, you didn't even take notes 
on what I told you." 

He smiled and said, "Don't worry, every word you said was recorded and 
will be part of my report which I am going to submit to higher command. You 
stay overnight here and tomorrow you return with Colonel Miller to his head 
quarters and he will give you advice on how your troops and the refugees 
attached to your troops, should march and cross the American lines, at what 
point and so forth. Certain markings will be made; they will give you maps 
showing you which road you should follow, and so forth. And we will try to 
protect you against any attacks by the SS." 

Well, I was really delighted. That was probably the brightest moment of 
this contact with the Americans. Of course, this required that I return back 
through the no-man s-land to report to Maltsov. And that, of course, was a 
dangerous adventure; I realized that. And so, returning to the place where I 
initially contacted the Americans I had a lengthy conference with Colonel Miller 
and some other people, who gave me the map on which they showed me the road 
on which Maltsov 's troops should retreat and come to the American area. I told 
them that our car was short of gas and he ordered immediately that it he 
filled and gave us some additional canisters of gas which we put in the trunk 
of our car. The name of the town in which this event took place was Schvizl. 

The point was this; I had to return to Maltsov 's headquarters and go 
through no-man's-land. The Americans warned me that according to their 
intelligence the SS troops were active in this area and therefore they would 

- 466 - 

send a tank and our car would follow that tank, and then when that tank returned 
to American lines a spotter tank would follow our progress and call for 
artillery barrage if SS troops tried to interfere with our progress. 

So the wonderful feeling of safety of the American hospitality and 
protection I had once again to cross the no-man's-land between the American 
and German lines. 

Chapter 67 Scenario IX 

Now, once again I found myself in a most dangerous situation. My new 
American friends were trying to help me return from the American front lines 
through no-man's-land to the German lines, that is to the area within the 
German lines occupied by General Maltsov's Russian Liberation Airforce units 
and thousands of refugees who came to that area seeking the protection of General 
Maltsov's units. I realized that General Maltsov was desperately waiting 
for me to return in order to learn the results of my talks with the American 
military authorities. I also knew that I had stayed a day longer than was 
originally planned, because of my having to travel to the American higher echelon 
of command to visit with General Kennedy, corps commander of the American 3d 

An American tank, making a terrific noise on the stone paved street 
of Schvizl maneuvered in front of our car and the man in the turret of the 
tank gave us a signal to follow him. 

Our strange caravan, consisting of a tank and our passenger vehicle, 
moved in the general direction of the German lines. When we left the American 
forward observation posts we found ourselves in a no-^nan ' s-land approaching 
a German village called There sienthal. The villagers, hearing the terrible 
noise of the tank apparently assumed that this signified the beginning of an 
American general offense. I heard the txells of the village church start to ring 

- 467 - 

apparently it was an alert signal and saw white flags appear in some of the 
windows. Seeing all that, I realized that the protection provided me by 
the American tank might have very bad consequences for me and my driver by 
attracting too much attention to our car and to me. I was afraid that a German 
SS unit, hearing all this commotion, might send a patrol to investigate, and 
I was sure that if they caught me in German uniform with Russian Liberation 
Army insignia returning from the American lines with maps they would shoot 
me on the spot. Therefore, I ordered the driver to honk to attract the 
attention of the tank commander. When the tank stopped I went to the tank man, 
told him of my concern, and asked him to return. 

I was also greatly relieved to hear the noise of a spotter plane, which 
I saw circling overhead. So the tank turned back and my driver and I continued 
cautiously to drive further toward the German lines. First we passed through 
the village at high speed and then the road led us into a forest area. At one 
point we had to check the map, since we reached a crossroad and were not too 
sure which road to take, but markings on the map helped us to find the road 
we needed. Although outwardly calm, I was afraid, because I was fully aware 
of the danger in this adventure between the American and German lines. 
Suddenly we heard, not far away in the forest, a few rifle shots and then a 
burst of machine gun fire. I ordered the driver to turn off the road and into 
the dense bushes bordering the road. Then I ordered him to get out of the 
car and run with me deeper into the forest . At that moment I heard overhead 
again the reassuring drone of the American spotter plane. We were lying on 
the ground and listening. We didn't hear any more firing. My driver and I 
had our pistols German lugers on the ready. I was determined to die fighting. 
Then something unexpected happened. Suddenly artillery shells started 
exploding in the close vicinity. I realized that it was a protective artillery 
barrage promised by the Americans to help our mission get through the no-man's- 

- 468 - 

land. Apparently the spotter plane observed some German patrols in the area 
where we had stopped our car and called for the artillery fire. Since our 
road led through a deep forest the pilot of the spotter plane didn't see us 
stopping and assumed that we had already passed through this area and therefore 
called for artillery support to stop the Germans. It was not a very pleasant 
experience to find oneself in the midst of bursting artillery shells. We 
were lying on the ground being shaken by close explosions and listening to the 
whine of the shrapnel pieces flying overhead. This experience took me back 
to the days in the civil war in Russia in 1919-1920. After the end of that 
war I never dreamt that 25 years later I would again find myself under 
artillery fire. 

The moment the artillery firing stopped we rushed back to our car and 
drove at breakneck speed back toward the German lines. Finally we came out 
of the forest and saw in the distance the little town of Lindb.erg, where 
General Maltsov and his units were supposed to be waiting for us. Approaching 
the town we were surprised not to see the mass of soldiers and refugees 
comprising Maltsov 's group, and soon realized that they had left it. We 
stopped in front of a building around which there were a few German soldiers. 
I barely had time to get out of my car before 3 German officers and several 
men with sub-machine guns on the ready surrounded us. A tall German captain 
with the highest German decoration on his, neck, the Iron Cross with swords, 
oak leaves and diamonds, came to me, saluted me since I was wearing the uniform 
of a German major, and started to shout: "Do you know that your General Maltsov 
arrested all officers of the German liaison staff and moved toward the American 
lines? Since you are a member of his staff we are going to arrest you and 
keep you under arrest until all German officers are released. Otherwise," 
and he looked at me sternly, "you are going to share here the fate of our 
officers taken prisoner by General Maltsov." Looking at the threatening faces 

- 469 - 

of the Germans surrounding me and my driver and seeing the submachine guns 
pointed at us I realized that I was in serious danger. Another thing 
that bothered me was the fact that General Maltsov, with the captured German 
officers and all the units and refugees, was moving along the wrong road, not 
the road indicated on the map by the Americans. First of all I asked how long 
ago had General Maltsov moved his column. They told me that the mutiny, as 
they called it, had taken place about 4 hours before. I figured out that 
the slowly moving column could not have gone too far away yet , and that if 
I hurried I would still have a chance to stop the column and direct it on the 
road where the Americans were waiting for us. Otherwise, it was clear to me 
that the appearance of Maltsov 's column on another road could end in a disaster, 
namely that the Americans, seeing the troops in German uniforms moving toward 
Schvizl on the wrong road, could open fire. The only chance was to try to 
persuade the Germans to let me go in my car and try to catch Maltsov' s column 
before it was too late, but the furious German officers were not in a mood 
to talk to me. 

At this critical moment, when every minute counted, I started to plead 
with the German captain who wore the high decoration. "Listen, captain," I 
told him, "why don't we go together, you in your car following me in my car and 
we both will catch up to General Maltsov and I will try to persuade him to 
release the members of the German staff he arrested and then you can take 
them back to your headquarters." 

"And what if your General Maltsov arrests me too?" asked the captain. 

"I give you my word of honor as an officer that General Maltsov 
would not do that. I will tell him that I gave you my word of honor about it. 
You know," I continued," that I have just returned from the American lines 
where I negotiated the conditions under which our troops should come to the 
American lines and on which road they should go. If the troops appear on the 

- 470 - 

wrong road a calamity could happen In which not only our Russians but also 
your German officers may be killed!" 

After a minute's hesitation, the captain finally agreed to go with me 
to see General Maltsov, but he suggested that we drive together in his 
staff car while my driver followed us in my car. The captain apparently 
wanted to be with me so that I could explain to the Russians in Maltsov' s units 
why a German officer was driving by their column. His suggestion proved 
to be a wise one, since the moment we reached the tail end of the slowly 
moving column our car was stopped by the rear security patrol. I identified 
myself and explained to the patrol scout that I was bringing a German captain 
to see General Maltsov. The men in the patrol told me that the general, with 
his staff and the imprisoned German officers, was marching at the head of 
the column. We, of course, spoke Russian so that the German captain driving 
the car didn't understand a word. I told him that we should go to the head 
of the column. The column stretched out for at least a mile, so we had to 
hurry. The captain was a good driver. He stepped on the gas and kept his hand 
on the horn and we drive along the column toward the head. Several times 
security patrols protecting the flanks of the column stopped us but when they 
saw me and heard me speaking Russian they let me pass. 

Finally we noticed that the head of the column had come to a halt. When 
we finally reached General Maltsov and his cars I saw the group of German 
officers surrounded by guards with sub-machine guns. I realized why the column 
had stopped. There was an impassable road block hastily thrown across the road 
by SS troops. Trunks of big trees were piled up across the road and there was 
no way to by pass them or cut through, them to let our column and especially 
our vehicles through. General Maltsov was in an ugly mood and started shouting 
to me, saying, "Why are you so late? I couldn't wait any longer, and I had 
to move, since the Germans tried to prevent jne from moving with my column 

- 471 - 

toward the American lines. Then I arrested these dirty German fritzes and now 
I may give an order to shoot them, since I am sure that this road block was 
set up with their knowledge!" Then, looking at the German captain who brought 
me in his car, the general exclaimed, "And who is this German clown whom 
you brought with you? I will arrest him and probably shoot him too!" 

General Maltsov always had a temper and I knew that it would be 
difficult to talk to him at that moment. Therefore, I asked him to go with 
me to the side of the road, so that I could talk to him and his chief of staff, 
Colonel Vaniushin, privately. I stressed that I had an important message 
from the Americans which I had to convey to him. He calmed down and I made 
a brief report about the outcome of my negotiations with the American 
commanders, showed him the map, and told him that we must turn the column with 
his units to the road marked on the map by the Americans. Fortunately, studying 
the map we discovered that through a linking road we could turn into the raod 
that was needed. Of course, we would lose some precious time, and I 
figured out that at best we would reach the American lines at dusk. I also 
told General Maltsov that I had given the German captain who brought me there my 
word of honor as an officer that he would be permitted to return. Reluctantly 
General Maltsov agreed and ordered the guard to let the captain take his 
car and drive back. 

After that a complicated and tedious task of moving the long column 
back began. First we had to march a few miles back, then turn on the road 
thatwould link us with the highway on which the Americans were waiting for us. 
My sister Tania with our servant Lusha, whose leg was broken, were driving 
in one of General Maltsov 's cars. Realizing that for the first contact with 
the Americans he would need English speaking people, General Maltsov ordered 
me to get into the car with Tania and Lusha, and take a seat next to the driver, 
being, so to speak, forward patrol leader and interpreter. General Maltsov, 

- 472 - 

his chief of staff, Colonel Vaniushin, and a couple of other high ranking 
officers of his staff were following my car. 

From that point on everything went pretty smoothly, but I was only 
concerned that we were approaching the American lines in the dusk, and it 
was rapidly getting darker. I was afraid that some undesirable incident 
could occur, particularly since the American forward units which met us headed 
by Lt. Col. Miller requested that all weapons and ammunition be surrendered 
at a few assigned areas. General Maltsov was not very happy about that but he 
realized that we had to abide by the order. During the drive I told my 
sister Tania everything that had happened to je on the American side, 
including my identification by the United Press. They were happy moments of 
family reunion in the incredible circumstances in a car driving through no- 
man's-land and toward the American lines and an unknown future. We hoped 
that finally we would find rest and security and were sure that our servant 
Lusha would be provided with medical care. 

Acting as interpreter, I introduced General Maltsov and members of his 
staff to Lieutenant Colonel Miller and other American officers. Lieutenant 
Colonel Miller told them about the requirements to surrender weapons and a 
couple of our young officers were attached to me and the Americans to see that 
rifles, machine guns and pistols would he laid down on several large pieces 
of tarpaulin. So I had to control this pretty delicate operation, because our 
men were reluctant to surrender their weapons, particularly their pistols, 
and I knew that quite a few of them, especially our officers, including General 
Maltsov, managed to hide their pistols. I pretended that I didn't see them. 
Eventually a huge pile of weapons accumulated on the side of the road. Lieutenant 
Colonel Miller was pleased to learn thatmy sister spoke English too, and he 
told us that he would see to it that Tania, Lusha and some other ladies would 
b.e given a comfortable lodging. 

- 473 - 
Chapter 68 Scenario IX 

Our first task was to organize a smooth check point to pass troops 
and refugees into Schvizl. To help me, General Maltsov assigned a few 
officers and enlisted men from his command, and also his counterpart in the 
American troops, Lieutenant Colonel Miller, attached a couple of officers and 
some of his men to our group. In general, the mass of people crossed through 
the check point pretty smoothly. The only difficulty was created by darkness. 
It was completely dark when the last people in the column crossed the check 
point and entered the town. I was assigned to quarters together with General 
Maltsov and his staff, while Tania was assigned billets somewhere else. As soon 
as I completed my mission at the check point, I went to look for her. I 
finally found her and Lusha and the other women relatively comfortably lodged 
in a house, but she was almost in tears. She said that while she was crossing 
the checkpoint, she was asked to leave the car and help with interpreting 
for the Americans, and in that chaotic situation our suitcase was lost. She 
was particularly upset because the suitcase contained the family icon. I was 
also very upset, since I knew that this icon had been in our family for almost 
two centuries and had survived everything war and revolution and escape from 
Russia, then bombardment in Belgrade, and finally arrest by the Gestapo. It 
had remained with us through everything, particularly because Tania had taken 
such good care of it and our mother's prayer book, and to think that these 
things had perished was unbearable to her. Then something happened that I could 
call only a miracle. A man, one of the soldiers of Maltsov 's army, entered 
the house in which we were located holding our suitcase, which, was open. Most 
of the things in it were lost but we saw that it was our suitcase, with the 
icon still in it. Of course, he didn't know to whom the suitcase belonged. He 
just came into our place and said, "I found this on the street, do you know to 

- 474 - 

whom this suitcase and icon belong?" 

Tania and I couldn't believe it; the icon had come back to our family. 
I believe in miracles and that was surely one. Lusha was also being taken 
care of. We were waiting for an American doctor, but apparently they had 
difficulties in finding one, but our doctor, Mondrusov, the doctor of Maltsov's 
headquarters, finally came and helped Lusha with her broken leg, so she felt 
much more comfortable. She was put on a sift bed and everything was in 
order. After that, saying goodnight, I went to Join Maltsov and his group. 
The German officers whom we brought as prisoners were immediately taken away 
and sent somewhere else. I marvelled at the organizationof the Americans in 
settling us, the troops and the refugees in that area. During the night all 
the troops were marched to different localities in the vicinity of Schvizl. 
Not all of them, of course, were put in houses or barracks, some of them just 
had to settle down in the open fields and they were in the position of semi- 
prisoners of war. Namely, they were told not to leave the area, and some sentries 
wereput around the areas where they were located. However, General Maltsov and 
his staff, including me, were billeted in private houses. We had talked 
with Lieutenant Colonel Miller far into the night. He wanted to know the 
backgrounds of all our senior staff officers beginning with General Maltsov, 
and I had to interpret the dialogues between Lieutenant Colonel Miller and the 
officers whom he was interrogating. I learned many interesting things about 
our staff officers who were for the most part former officers of the Soviet 
Army. Among other things I learned that General Maltsov, besides being a 
good career air force officer, after retirement shortly before the outbreak of 
war had been put in charge of the Soviet equivalent of the civil aeronautic 
board and had lived in the Crimea, in Yalta, When the Germans occupied Yalta, 
he was elected to be mayor of the city of Yalta under German occupation. I 
was pleased to hear about that because my memories of my young years were also 

- 475 - 

connected with Yalta, so later I had a chance to talk with Maltsov at length 
about this town. 

The second in command, Colonel Vaniushin, General Maltsov's chief of 
staff, told about his career, and this was an extremely important thing. 
Colonel Vaniushin had served in the Red Army for a long time. He participated 
in the civil war on the side of the Reds and then became an officer and 
finally wound up as a staff officer in the Far Eastern Command of the Soviet 
army where he helped the commander in chief of the Far Eastern District, 
Marshal Blucher, to prepare the war plan for a possible conflict between the 
Soviet Union and Japan. I noticed that the American who were listening to his 
story were extremely interested in it and they asked far more and more details 
about it. After interrogating all of the senior staff officers we finally were 
permitted to go to bed, but were warned that probably early in the morning 
after breakfast we would have to go to some higher headquarters ;for continued talk 

The next morning, a good American GI breakfast was served, at which time 
I was introduced for the first time in my life to the famous Spam and powdered 
eggs which were made into scrambled eggs, but after our diet under the Germans 
everything tasted delicious, particularly brea, white bread we hadn't seen for 
many years during the war. 

Around 11 o'clock in the morning we were told that a jeep soon would b\e 
ready and that General Maltsov, Colonel Vaniushin and I were to go to a higher 
headquarters. We were advised to take some personal things, since we were 
probably going to stay for a long time outside of the area where we were now. 
I rushed to the house where Tania was located, said goodbye to her and Lusha, 
and rushed back, jumped into the jeep and off we went. It was April 28th, 1945, 
and it was the last time that I saw Tania, for she died in Munich in 1947 when 
I was already in the United States. Three of us went in the jeep with an 
American officer and American driver, first to the places where our troops were 

- 476 - 

billeted temporarily to talk to some officers and men. Some of them complained 
that they were actually treated like prisoners of war, however they were all 
grateful for the plentiful food that was given by the Americans. When I 
translated their complaints I was told to tell them that the situation would 
be like that only for the first couple of days and that later on they would be 
billeted under better conditions, not in the open fields. 

While still in the area where Maltsov's troops were located, we picked 
up another passenger who joined our group Cin addition to General Maltsov, 
Lieutenant Colonel Vaniushin and myself). That was a Major Lantukh of the Air 
Force Signal Corps. Apparently the Americans were interested in his knowledge 
of the Soviet code system, and so we were four of us. Major Lantukh was 
probably not as well educated and intelligent as the rest of our group, but 
he was a good fellow and very helpful on many occasions with his peasant 
kind of resourcefulness and good humor. 

We drove all the time in a westerly direction. It would be. hard for 
me to recall all the places where we stopped for a day or two. I remember 
stopping at Nurnberg. We were in the position of semi-PW's, however the 
Americans avoided using that term. When I openly asked them what our position 
was, they said that we were in the protective custody of the American Army. 
Well the thing wasn't quite clear to me; we were fed in the American officers' 

messes and were lodged very comfortably, but a guard was always standing nearby. 

we stopped 
At the beginning of May^in one of the camps near Frankfurt. There, one 

evening, an officer came to our room where four of us were lodged. He came in 
and told us, "Do you know, we have just got news that one of your Russian 
Liberation Army Corps divisions entered Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia, 
fought successfully with the Germans, mostly SS troops who were in Prague and 
liberated Prague!" 

We were jubilant, since it was Vlasov's army's first military success 

- 477 - 

which became known now also to the Americans, but that jubilation didn't last 
too long when we learned that our Vlasov troops remained in Prague only for a 
short time and after being initially greeted by the local population with 
flowers and cheers soon had to leave because the regular Soviet army was 
approaching and captured Prague soon afterward. 

In Wiesbaden we were taken to a very luxurious villa on the outskirts 
of that city, where we found ourselves billeted with captured German field 
officers. We learned about that in the evening when everyone gathered in the 
dining room for dinner. There were three field marshals, one of them Field 
Marshal Rundstedt. We greeted each other coldly; they saw that we were 
in German uniforms and apparently were well aware who we were. 

We were served excellent food there and the next morning we left the 
German field marshals and went farther west. We finally reached the border 
between Germany and the duchy of Luxemburg, We drove through the city of 
Luxembourg and then crossed into France and went to a small place in the 
northern corner of France called Reven, which makes a salient into Belgian 
territory. It was a mountainous area and a kind of mountain cottage. We were 
lodged on the upper floor and to my great surprise I looked through the 
windows and saw, walking in the yard, the other group of our former Air Force 
personnel, whom I initially met near Konigsberg at Moritzfelde, the first 
place where the Russian Liberation Army Air Force was organized and I made 
my first contact with the then Colonel Maltsov. That group was isolated from 
ours, but I recognized the faces and particularly I was pleased to see there 
Captain Idol who earlier had played such an important role in saving me 
from the clutches of the Gestapo by speeding up the process of my becoming an 
officer of the Russian Liberation Army air force. I later helped him to get 
a job in the German department of the Defense Language Institute; he is now living 
in retirement here in the Monterey area. 

- 478 - 

During our westward drive, which lasted from the end of April through 
the month of May 1945, at various places where we stopped for several days 
we learned of the great historic events which were happening. We heard of 
the capture and execution of Mussolini and his mistress, Patacci, by Italian 
partisans on the 28th of May 1945. Then we learned of the capture of Berlin 
by the Soviet troops and rumors of Hitler's and Boebbels' suicide in the 
German chancellory and finally a great event, the end of the war in Europe, 
V-E day, which we joyously celebrated with our benevolent captors, the Americans, 
on May 8, 1945. At one point, I believe it was in the vicinity of Rheims, 
in France, we were told that we were going to Paris. I was extremely curious 
about this bit of news, because I remembered at that time the word given to 
me by one of the high ranking American officers, during our talks , that I 
would be sent to the United States. 

At one of the stops an ominous event took place. Around noon time a 
sergeant came into the room where we were having our luncheon. Holding a piece 
of paper he read slowly in English, "General Maltzu, General Maltzu." We 
didn't understand initially what he was talking about, but then I realized 
that "Maltzu" was the English pronunciation of the name of General Maltzev, 
which was spelled in German as "Maltzew." He then told me, and I translated 
to Maltzev, to get all his suitcases and go, for a car was waiting for him. 

Maltzev realized that something strange was happening. He shook our 
hands and repeated the sentence that he always told us in time of crisis, "Don't 
you worry, my friends, everything will be all right!" and that was the last 
time that we saw him. Only much later, when already in the United States, did 
I learn that the Americans had taken him because they were carrying out 
agreements whereby all the leaders of the Russian Liberation movements and all 
the Russian prisoners of war and civilians who came to the west escaping from 
the Red tyranny were to be handed over to the Soviets. 

- 479 - 

So that was that. After that we remained only three, Colonel Vaniushin, 
General Maltsov's chief of Staff; Major Lantukh, the code specialist; 
and myself. We continued our westward drive, now in the direction of Paris. 
It was strange to see Paris at that time. I had never been in Paris before, 
and I saw the beautiful avenues and streets and admired the buildings of the 
city and its famous landmark, the Eiffel tower. 

Chapter 69 Scenario X 

Finally we reached Paris the three of us, the American officer who 
accompanied us and the driver of the jeep, since General Maltsov was in a 
mysterious way separated from our group. We drove quietly through the streets 
to a suburb, and were housed in a requisitioned building which apparently was 
a schoolhouse. There were quite a few German officers there, but the three 
of us were separated from them. We had two adjacent rooms at our disposal with 
comfortable beds and we were taking our meals separately from the Germans. 
Walking in the yard of the building complex one day I saw a sign on one of the 
buildings which read "Detention Center." That building was heavily guarded, 
but I managed to get close to it and to my amazement I saw that the ground 
floor was populated by young women, all of them with clean shaven heads. 
They were standing at the windows shouting, laughing and gesticulating. The 
American guard at the entrance to the building, seeing my bewilderment at the 
sight, came and told me that these young women were German collaborators or 
mistresses of the German military, and that the French as punishment had shaved 
their heads and they were kept here pending investigation of their involvement 
with the Germans. It was quite a sight. 

The three of us, Colonel Vaniushin, Major Lantukh and I, constantly 
asked our American guards about the fate of General Matlsov, but couldn't get 
any satisfactory answer, particularly since, upon arrival in Paris, our American 

- 480 - 

escort group was changed, and the officer of that group didn't even know who 
General Maltsov was. 

As the only English-speaking member of our group I kept in close contact 
with an American major who was apparently in charge of us. Initially I 
couldn't get any information from him about our future plans and so forth, 
but then one day, it was about 20th of May 1945, he told me, "Now I can tell 
you about your immediate future. You and your two friends will be flown in 
an American military aircraft to the United States." 

I was delighted, and tried to get from him more details about what 
we were going to do in the United States, but he told me that that was all that 
he could tell us and we should start preparing for the long flight. He advised 
us to throw away all unnecessary things, but when I asked him if I could 
change for that occasion into civilian clothes he said no, and then added 
that it would be in my interest to travel in German military uniform with 
my rank insignia as a major in the airforce of the Russian Liberation Army. 
We happily waited for the day of departure, which was set for the 24th of 
May. We had to pack everything we planned to take with us and be ready to 
leave. We were waiting impatiently and just before sundown we, our group of 
three, and a large group of German Air Force officers were ordered to board 
two open trucks, and after we climbed in the trucks they took off and started 
to move through the streets of Paris in the direction of the airport. 

I don't recall now what airport it was, Le Bourget or Orly, but when we 
arrived there we saw that it was used exclusively by military aircraft. While 
riding through the streets of Paris we were exposed to various unpleasant 
reactions from the French walking on the streets. They were shouting at us 
and making threatening gestures. It was ironic for me to think that the 
French people didn't know that among the Germans in that group were three 
Russians who were not at all their enemies, but they could only judge the 

- 481 - 
passengers of the trucks by their uniforms. 

When we arrived at the airport it was getting dark. We were taken first 
of all to a briefing room where we were given instructions on emergency 
procedure in case of a landing on the ocean. We were shown a big inflated 
rubber boat, how to inflate it automatically, what kind of equipment was 
available in these boats, how to use the floating vests, and so forth. My two 
Russian friends and I stock apart from the Germans and I translated to them 
in whispers the instructions given by the American officer. 

After another hour of waiting we were moved into another room where a 
check of each individual took place. A major came to me and explained 
apologetically that we three would have to undergo the same kind of body 
check as all the German officers. I translated that for my friends; there was 
nothing new in that procedure for them. The major asked us to take everything 
out of our pockets and lay it in front of him. He noticed that Colonel 
Vaniushin had a pen knife, which he requisitioned because it was not allowed 
to board a military aircraft with that. Otherwise it was just a procedural 
matter. After that we were taken to the airplane. 

When I saw this Super Fortress waiting for us I was completely flabber 
gasted. I had never seen so large an aircraft in my life. It was a tremendous 
four-engined aircraft into which we had to climbe on a very unsteady metal 
step ladder my friends helped me and then we were shown to bucket seats in 
the back of the plane. It was a military aircraft converted for transporation 
of troops. The German officers were all in front and in between there were 
quite a few American officers. The major now introduced himself and told us that 
he was going to accompany us all the way to Washington, B.C. 

Finally, the engines started to roar and the airplane, heavily laden 
with gas, rose with difficulty in complete darkness. It was already past 
midnight, probably about 2 o'clock in the morning. We were offered coffee and 

- 482 - 

sandwiches, and in a short while, with the first daylight it was May 25th 

1945 I noticed that we were flying over a body of land and water; I figures 

out that we were crossing the shores of England, flying in a northerly direction. 

This, my first experience, flying from east to west, was the longest 
daylight flight in my life to that point. Later on I crossed the Atlantic 
several times, but the first time was very strange that the daylight lasted 
so long. 

We stopped the first time in the airport in Iceland where we came out 
of the plane and were offered an excellent luncheon at the officers' mess. 
Again we were messed separately from the German officers; we ate with the 
American officers. After that stop we took off again and the next stop, still 
in bright daylight, although my watch showed it was next to midnight, was when 
we landed in Newfoundland. There we were served dinner, while the aircraft 
was getting gas. 

It was getting dark when we took off from Newfoundland and started to 
fly down south over Canada. In the late hours of the day I looked with 
fascination at the barren landscape in that northern part of the country, with 
many little lakes but practically no villages or towns. We began to see the 
lights of towns only when we reached the central and southern part of Canada, 
and particularly when we crossed the American border. After always living 
in the blackout during the war in Germany, it was such a wonderful experience 
to see the lighted streets below. Finally we came over a tremendous brightly 
lit area which was apparently New York. Then our airplane started to circle 
over another large city and then I saw the capital, brightly lighted with 
floodlights, so I realized that we were landing in Washington. 

At the airport the German officers were again let out first from the 
airplane and were taken to one part of the airport buildings and we, with 
the Americans, to another one. Nurses and doctors were waiting and the first 

- 483 - 

thing, before any questions were asked, a nurse put thermometers in our mouths 
to check our temperatures and then a doctor checked our pulse, heartbeat, 
looked into our eyes and throats and then shortly afterward we were taken 
to a car. It was a car which I believe used to be called a "black Maria", a 
windowless car in which we were comfortably seated, with the major who had 
accompanied us, the driver, whom we didn't see because we were separated from 
him, and a couple of enlisted men. 

We drove a relatively long time. I heard some traffic noises as if 
we were going through the center of the city, then the traffic noises ceased 
and we were driving apparently on country roads, but the roads were magnificent 
no bumps at all . Then in the distance I heard a ship ' s horn and thought 
we were somewhere near the ocean. I couldn't figure it out, trying to restore 
in my memory the location of Washington in relation to the ocean. 

Finally we stopped, apparently in front of some gates. Some words 
were exchanged between our driver and the guards, and then we drove somewhere 
and then stopped flush at the entrance to a building. We stepped out of the 
car, without seeing anything around us, directly into the hallway of a building 
and were asked to go to the second floor. There we found ourselves in a well- 
lighted hallway covered with a thick green carpet and then we were taken to 
a large room where three beds were prepared for us. 

As soon as we got there, a major and another officer came to us and 
said that they would like us to go to the shower room, and take off our uniforms, 
our underwear, everything, since we were going to be issued American GI 
summer uniforms. Well, we took off everything we had, were given towels and 
soap, and marched into the shower room. How I enjoyed this first shower on 
American soil! Then we were taken to a room and started to try on various sizes 
of uniform shirts and pants, socks and underwear, and shoes. They had 
difficulty in finding my size, but finally succeeded in getting items which 

- 484 - 

fit well. So in a relaxed mood and in the light summer uniforms without 
insignia we were marched back to our room. 

I was aware that we were probably in an intelligence outfit and that 
soon some intelligence work would start, probably beginning with our 
interrogation. We were told to go to bed and from experience with the Gestapo 
I was aware that probably the rooms were bugged, as in any intelligence 
outfit. Our status was similar to that of prisoners of war, so I made a 
gesture to my friends not to blab too much. We didn't have any particular 
secrets from the Americans, but still I didn't want to jeopardize our position. 

We slept well, and in the morning there was a knock on the door; they 
said it was time for breakfast, so we had better go to wash ourselves and 
shave; we were given enough time for that and then breakfast was brought to our 

Chapter 70 Scenario X 

The breakfast brought to our room this first morning in the United 
States was plentiful eggs, bacon, jam, bread, coffee, and plenty of milk. 
With the breakfast each of us received a cardboard box with some colorful 
comic strip pictures on it. Since we never heard before of dried cereals we 
opened one of the boxes, tried its contents, didn't particularly care for it 
and had no idea that it should be mixed with milk. Later we didn't even bother 
opening the boxes and just piled them in the corner of the room. 

Shortly after breakfast the major who brought us to the United States 
from Europe came in with two young captains. One of them introduced himself 
as Captain Krag; the other name I have forgotten. 

I realized at once that these two captains were familiar with our back 
ground and each had a knowledge of either Russian or some other Slavic language. 
They were businesslike and told us immediately about our status. We were, 

- 485 - 

they told us, under protective custody of the U.S. Army. We were lodged at 
an Army intelligence secret post. Only later did I learn that it was a 
highly classified post called Fort Hunt, located about halfway between 
Alexandria, Virginia and Mount Vernon, in the woods and couldn't be seen from 
the highway. The building in which we were lodged looked like a two storey 
hotel, with thick carpeted hallways and individual rooms on both sides of 
the hallway. There were three guards constantly stationed in the hallway, and 
we had to call them by knocking on the door from the inside when we wanted 
to go to the bathroom. Otherwise, all the rooms in the building were locked 
and the whole procedure was so arranged that the individuals occupying the various 
rooms whould never see the occupants of the other rooms. I must say that this 
was a perfect arrangement and during the week or so that we remained in this 
mysterious intelligence hotel we didn't see any of the other inhabitants. It 
was a prisonlike arrangement except that all personnel of that "prison" were 
extremely kind and helpful. We were served delicious and plentiful meals and 
we were told that if for any reason we would like some additional snacks 
we would get them. 

As it was already the end of May, it was getting pretty hot in the 
Washington area and our room was not air conditioned. We were sitting most of 
the time in our room in our trunks, and an electric fan was brought to us to 
make the rooms cooler. We were provided with cold chocolate drinks and juices. 
The New York Timeg was brought to us every morning and I spent a long time 
translating the latest news for my Russian friends. We were getting a little 
restless and complained to our captains about the lack of exercise and they 
promised to do something about it. 

At this point I should state that everything that has been said, 
beginning with the events described in the preceding chapter, as well as 
everything that I am going to record from now on was at that time, in 1945, 

- 486 - 

classified by the Department of the Army as a Top Secret project. However, 
since so many years have passed since that time and the two former Soviet 
officers with whom I was sharing this intelligence adventure died a long time 
ago, it can no longer be considered as any breach of secrecy to describe these 
events. Rather, it will show the tireless, persistent, imaginative and 
successful effort of the American War Department intelligence service that that 
critical time in American history. 

What made the whole project so secret was this. The United States and 
the Soviet Union were allies in the war against Nazi Germany, however, Army 
intelligence was fully aware of the fact that the one time alliance with 
the Soviet Union was just a marriage of convenience, and it was trying 
desperately under the strictest secrecy to obtain some intelligence data about 
the Soviet military activities. The captured officers of the Vlasov Liberation 
Army, who were mostly Soviet officers in the past were the best source of that 
kind of information. However, the Soviet authorities, who were aware of that, and 
in implementation of the Yalta agreement, requested from the Western allies the 
forcible return of all former Soviet citizens, particularly, of course, of 
the Soviet prisoners of war in Germany and especially of General Flasov and all 
officers of his command and all members of the Russian Liberation Army. This 
was why our initial partner, General Maltsov, had to be separated from our 
group and later delivered to the Soviet authorities, to be tried and executed 
together with Vlasov and other senior members of his command. However, with 
us three the American Army Intelligence decided to gamble. We just disappeared 
in Europe and were brought to the United States in an army aircraft mixed with 
a group of other German airforce officers. I later learned that these German 
officers were all experts in jet propulsion and jet aircraft fighters and 
they were also brought to our secret Fort Hunt. There were many other important 
people at that time at Fort Hunt, including the famous Werner von Braun, the 

- 487 - 

father of modern rocketry. 

As far as our work was concerned, we were requested to write detailed 
biographies, with particular stress on knowledge of certain Soviety military 
matters and also to report on the Russian Liberation Movement in Germany, 
its impact on Soviet prisoners of war and so forth. This area was primarily 
my task since I was well versed in anti-communist propaganda activities and 
techniques, both German, during my work with Vineta as head of the Russian 
anti-communist propaganda department, and Russian, in behalf of the Vlasov 
liberation army. I wrote a very detailed report emphasizing the stupid 
mistakes of the Germans against communism, and the incredible but short-lived 
success of the ROA, headed by General Vlasov. I made a strong plea about the 
necessity to save the cadre of the Vlasov army in the American interest, and 
I predicted the dangerous difficulties which the Americans would soon have with 
the Soviets. 

I urged that the best of the Vlasov army should be saved, transported 

to a Pacific island, and kept in military readiness, in case of conflict 

with the Soviet Union. It is interest: to note that my report apparently was 

carefully studied at a high level in Washington because in after about three 
weeks an American colonel came to see me and requested that I give him the 
names of the high ranking officers of Vlasov 's staff who could be important 
in case of implementation of my plan. I was told that Vlasov 's name would not 
be on the list , because his fate was already sealed and he was already in the 
hands of the Soviets. I asked one day before giving my answer, and after talking 
to Colonel Vaniushin drafted a list of generals and other high ranking officers 
who in our opinion were important to maintain the Russian Liberation Army. 
Among the names we gave to the Americans were General Trukhin, Vlasov f s 
chief of staff, General Malyshkin, General Maltsov, the head of the Liberation 
Army air force, then commanding officers of two liberation army divisions 

- 488 - 

already activiated, and some other names. I turned in this list to the colonel 
next day and he told me that the American intelligence would try to do something 
to save these men, but that it would be a very hard task. 

This little episode gave the three of us a moral boost. We began to 
hope that probably our idea of liberating Russia from the communist yoke 
was getting popular with some of the higherups in Washington. Unfortunately, 
the same colonel came a couple of weeks later to see me again and told me that 
it pained him to inform me that the attempt of the American army intelligence 
to save the people who were on our list had failed and that all of them had 
been turned over to the Soviet authorities. The three of us were downhearted; 
we knew that America would regret this shameful act of betrayal and we were 
right. I am convinced that a strong Russian liberation army supported by 
American aid would have toppled the communist regime in Russia at that time 
without involving American troops, because history teaches that it takes a 
Russian to beat a Russian. If that miracle could have taken place at that time, 
in 1945, we in the United States would not have had Cuba, Viet Nam nor the 
ever-present threat of nuclear holocaust. 

Discussions with our benevolent captors now became quite frank. We were 
told why we had been isolated and we understood that probably Soviet headhunters 
were looking for the three of us everywhere in Europe. Of course, I felt that 
in my particular case, since I was not a former Soviet army officer, 
probably it was not so important to be in hiding. I was particularly anxious 
to let my sister Tania know that I was all right, but our American friends 
told me that if my name surfaced somewhere in Europe the Soviet intelligence 
services, putting two and two together, would immediately realize that the two 
former Soviet officers with whom I had left Germany were also with me. So I 
was told that I would have to be in cold storage for a relatively long period 
of time, probably one year before being permitted to surface again. It wa s 

- 489 - 

hard but I understood the necessity of this action. The immediate problem 
for the U.S. army intelligence was to change our identities as soon as 
possible. It was particularly important in the case of my two Soviet friends. 
I helped in the process of reincarnating my friends and told our liaison 
officers that the best thing would be to have them be born somewhere in the 
Slavic area of the Carpathian mountains where Poles, Carpatho-Russians, 
Czechs and Ukrainians had lived intermingled through centuries. I requested a 
map of the area and carefully selected birthplaces and social origins for my 
friends. I also suggested names, which to my surprise were happily approved 
by both my two friends and the American intelligence authorities. Colonel 
Vaniushin became Mr. Novak, and Major Lantukh became Mr. Litvin. Both names 
sounded Slavic and could have been of any Slavic group. Their first names 
were left intact, so Colonal Vaniushin became Alexander Novak, and Major 
Lantuch Ivan Litvin. 

When my American friends suggested that I change my name I protested 
and told them that through my long life outside of Russia, work in many anti- 
communist organizations and Russian emigre organizations such as White army 
veterans, and membership and work in Russian church groups my identity and name 
was widely known among the Russian emigrant groups in all corners of the world 
including the United States, where our family had many friends. I also pointed 
out that during my work for the British press and the United Press I made friends 
with a large number of American and British newspaper men and it would he 
simply ridiculous for me to change my identity under such circumstances. My 
reasoning was accepted and I was permitted to maintain my real identity. The 
only concession was that in the case of a theoretical emergency, if there 
was a need for me to go to an army hospital while at Fort Hunt I would just be 
put there under the name of Major Brecht . 

While we were still living at the hotel at Fort Hunt after successful 

- 490 - 

completion of changing identities of my Soviet friends Novak and Litvin, 
as I will call them from now on, another serious problem came up. It should 
be remembered that the main purpose of this whole unusual and highly classified 
operation was to get intelligence data about the Soviet armed forces from 
former Soviet officers such as Novak and Litvin. Novak's background was of 
particular interest to American intelligence, since he knew the battle plan 
of the Soviet Far Eastern army in case of war against Japan. In May of 1945, 
the Soviets were not yet in the war against Japan, but in accordance with a 
clause of a secret Treaty between the allies and the Soviet Union they were 
expected to join the allies in the war against Japan in the final stage of 
the war. For this reason any intelligence information about the Soviet plans 
in the Far East was urgently needed by the American high command. Novak was 
requested to submit a comprehensive report about everything he knew regarding 
the Soviet plans in that area. 

It should be recalled that Novak in his previous career was a staff 
officer in Marshal Blucher's Far Eastern command, which developed a plan of 
attack on the Soviet Union against Japan. According to Novak he not only served 
in the development of this battle plan, but also served as a courier, carrying 
that plan from the Far East to Moscow for approval by the Soviet General Staff 
and Stalin himself. 

After receiving this request, Novak, and with him Litvin f got cold feet. 
They got scared, and asked me to interpret their concern to the American 
officers. They were afraid, they said, that after divulging this most critical 
intelligence information they would just be returned to Europe, where for sure 
they would be hounded down by Soviet spies. They requested an assurance of 
political asylum in the United States. I for my part was not too panicky about 
the whole affair but I certainly wanted to move for good from battle ravaged 
Europe and settle in the United States, where I had many friends, both Russian 

- 491 - 

and American, and where I hoped eventually to bring Tania and Lusha. 

In a few days a conference was arranged with some high ranking American 
officers to discuss this problem. At this conference I was told that while 
there would not be much trouble as far as I was concerned, it would be 
certainly very difficult to formalize the status of the so to speak newly born 
persons like Novak and Litvin. We were told that under no circumstances would 
we be returned to Europe, since this step would completely compromise the secret 
intelligence operation in which we were involved. If for some reason it 
would be too difficult or impossible to get approval for our permanent resident 
status in the United States we were promised to be taken after the end of the 
war to one of the friendly South American republics, with a guaranteed income 
for life. 

After a few days of very heated discussion between us, in which I for 
the first time realized how much distrust and fear the Soviet citizens keep 
in their hearts about any promises made by government and military officials, 
I finally persuaded Novak and Litvin to accept the conditions offered, and 
start working on their projects, namely Novak on Soviet battle plans against 
Japan, and Litvin on revealing information pertaining to the Soviety military 
code and cipher system. I reported this discussion to our American liaison 
officers who were greatly relieved, and on order from the higher echelons of 
the intelligence authorities our isolation ended and we moved to a delightful 
log cabin located in the woods, consisting of two bedrooms, and dining and 
living room with kitchen and a detached bath house with a shower. This cabin 
was located within a restricted area at Fort Hunt. 

Chapter 71 Scenario X 

The entire area of Fort Hunt was surrounded by a high chain fence and 
we were told that a certain area around our house was free for us, however 

- 492 - 

we were asked not to cross the boundaries suggested for us by our American 
friends. We didn't have a telephone and it was suggested that in case of 
emergency our contact should be a sentry situated on the sentry tower some 
distance away. We should go to this tower, call the sentry and tell him to 
send somebody to help us. 

Life in that cabin was very pleasant. We had an outside picnic table 
and a barbecue pit, and we enjoyed our life there. Our food was brought to 
us three times a day. It was plentiful, brought from the officer's mess, 
breakfast, lunch, dinner, and also since it was summer and very hot and 
they brought us an abundance of cold drinks cold chocolate drink and cold 
juices and our two American friends visited us daily. 

Now we were working very hard. I was asked to make evaluations on 
matters in the Balkans with which I was familiar. Then I was asked to make 
extracts from Soviet newspapers and translate them and to evaluate the newly 
appeared magazine Amerika. About the latter I wrote a very critical review, 
because it was obvious to me while reading the magazine, which was printed 
in Russian for distribution in the Soviet Union, that it was sheer word for 
word translation from English texts, and as such it stank. So I wrote 
about that and suggested that even if the material was translated from English 
it should be rewritten by an editorial staff and in free style, not word 
for word. Then I also recommended creation of an American radio station 
aimed toward various nations, particularly in Eastern Europe, and I suggested 
a name for that station, "Voice of America." I don't know if it was the 
result of my recommendation or not, but sometime afterward I learned that a 
radio station under that name was indeed created under the auspices of the 
State Department. 

It was also my duty to translate the important papers b.eing written by 
Novak about the battle order of the Soviet Union in the Far East, and by Litvin 

- 493 - 

about his knowledge of the Soviet code and cipher systems. We had some 
difficulties in obtaining a large scale map of the Far Eastern area, but the 
Pentago managed to get one to Novak's satisfaction and he was working very 
hard to write the order of battle as far as he knew it. I must say that it 
was a very urgent project and therefore I burned the midnight oil, because 
I had to translate everything and as soon as the material was translated it 
was picked up daily by our American officer friends. 

We were also told that we could use the facilities of the PX, although 
we personally didn't go there. Instead, we were given a list of items from 
which to select what we needed, and we really enjoyed that very much. There 
were all the toiletries that we needed, etc., and we were told that eventually 
we would pay for that. 

"With what?" I asked. 

And then came a new revelation. We were told that from the very first 
moment that we stepped from the airplane that brought us from Europe to the 
United States we were getting salaries according to our rank, and that the 
money was deposited in our name in a special account arranged by the War 
Department. We were very happy about that for we learned that the salaries 
for majors and lieutenant colonels were pretty high. 

Then, a great joy to us, was when we received a radio receiver, a huge 
affair with very good sound, and here we were for the first time exposed to 
American radio programs. Of course, we were very anxious to hear the news 
items, my friends didn't understand a word of English and I had to translate 
to them the most important items, but the exposure to American handling of 
news items and even music was a kind of cultural shock. The first newscast I 
listened to was by Gabriel Heatter, and he started to read the news items and 
then without changing the tone of his voice, or the rate of speech, he started 
to advertise Serutan, a laxative. He said that if you read Serutan backward 

- 494 - 

it was 'Natures', which was nature's kind of laxative. It was so ridiculous 
to me, because everywhere in Europe radio is a government controlled agency, 
and radio owners paid monthly dues to listen to the radio and there were no 
commercials whatsoever. It was our first exposure to the American way of life. 
We listened mostly to station WTOB, in Washington, D.C. 

There were some other interesting discoveries. We listened to Walter 
Winchell, with his dramatic staccato voice and very high strung information. 
We also listened to the very pleasant voice and excellent diction of Arthur 
Godfrey, and what amazed me was Arthur Godfrey's handling of advertisers. He 
had quite an interesting approach he was actually laughing and making jokes 
about the sponsors of his program. Day in and day out whenever he talked about 
the main sponsor of his program, a certain Zlotnik the furrier in Washington, 
D.C., he was making jokes and making fun of that store. 

Another interesting discovery in the radio programs was music. Among 
tunes which were not familiar to me, and typically American, I frequently 
recognized tunes based on melodies by Rachmaniov, Chopin, Beethoven, etc. 
which were changed into popular songs. I couldn't believe my ears when I 
heard popular songs based on these tunes, b.ut it was an interesting experience. 
I learned a lot of American tunes at that time. My memory preserves songs 
like "Chasing rainbows" or "Open the door, Richard", and another which made 
no sense at all which started "Chicory chic chalak chalak, chakarumi ina 
bananica chicory chic" and so forth. 

One day I was called by my American friends, the two captains, to go with 
them to one of the buildings in Fort Hunt, where I had to be intereviewed by 
several high ranking officers. One of them was even of general rank. 

I realized later on that the purpose was to establish firmly my past 
identity. They apparently were quite aware of my biographical sketch that I 
presented initially, but they couldn't check any sources like United Press 

- 495 - 

or any one else without showing their interest in me, so they couldn't afford to 
get information about me through that channel . 

So at that conference, after a few questions pertaining to my past in 
Belgrade particularly, one of the officers, a colonel, asked, "By the way, 
since you lived in Belgrade and worked there for the British Press and the 
U.P. did you ever happen to know a Mr. Smythe?" 

Smythe was an American car dealer for Packard and Chrysler in Belgrade 
and he had a flourishing business, for he supplied the royal family and court 
and all ministers with those wonderful Packards and limousines, which at that 
time served everywhere in that part of the world as a status symbol for higher 

I knew Smythe quite well, for at one time Atherton and I weredealing 
with him and Atherton bought an old jalopy from him. Moreover, I met him 
socially on many occasions with my American friends and so forth, so when I 
was asked that question, I said, "Smythe? Bill Bmythe? Yes, sure I know him. 
I know him quite well! I remember that he always had champagne cocktail 
parties and that he was married to a Hungarian girl, redheaded, a very vivacious 
and attractive girl!" 

At that point the colonel smiled, looked at other officers around him 
and said, "Well, I think that proves Mr. Albov's identity beyond any doubt," 
so the interview was finished. They all shook hands with me and I was dismissed 
and taken back to our log cabin. 

For entertainment our liaison captains finally decided to take us to do some 
fishing on the Potomac River. We would drive out the entrance of Fort Hunt, 
cross the highway leading to Alexandria, and then to the river bank where a 
boat was waiting for us and then we would go and fish. Usually we were 
catching Potomac River eels. They didn't look too attractive to me but then we 
learned to barbecue them and they were just delicious. The first time we 

- 496 - 

brought our catch back to our log cabin. The captains were with us; they 
brought with them some whiskey and we barbecued the eels and had a wonderful 
time. Also on 2 or 3 occasions we were driven to Virginia to some isolated 
places where they were sure we would not meet many people. We went as far as 
the monument to Stonewall Jackson and had a picnic nearby, and at the same 
time continuing working very hard in our cabins supplying the necessary 

Finally the big day, V-J day, came. I heard about that over the radio 
and it was a big, great moment. So the war for all practical purposes was 
over. We began to hope that our semi-imprisonment was over too, but we had 
still to stay in isolation because the American authorities were afraid that 
something might go wrong before our new identity was firmly established and 
we got a legitimate status for living in the "U.S. Finally the fall came 
without any particular change, and we were getting kind of depressed. To help 
us build up our morale it was decided one day that we could go to have some 
meals in a Chinese restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, so we went there in the 
evening. There I tried Chinese food for the first time in my life I liked it 
and then we again went back. But that was the only outside exodus that we made. 

Then the fall came, the weather changed and we were in the midst of 
winter. I remember how depressed I became at Christmas time, particularly since 
I didn't have a chance to establish communication with my sister Tania, who 
was still somewhere in Germany. I didn't know anything about her and she 
didn't know anything about me, but that was part of the deal. 

Now the question of our status became more clear. One day a colonel 
who was assigned now as the head of our group told me that the time had come 
for us to do certain things with the Immigration Office and then confidentially 
he told me the whole thing, and asked me not to tell that to my friends. 
We were talking again in a separate place outside of our cabin. He told 

- 497 - 

me that the Intelligence service had tried very hard to resolve our status 
through an act of Congress but they learned that the Congressional committee 
dealing with that particular matter was staffed with certain people who were 
unreliable as far as keeping these secrets was concerned, namely that they 
could have revealed a part of our story which would have blown up the whole 
project. Since they couldn't go through that particular channel, namely 
through Congress, they decided that the whole thing would be resolved at the 
highest level. I don't know how high it was, but anyhow it was decided that 
our custody by the Army would be transferred to the immigration authorities. 
For that purpose we were taken to the Immigration Office in Washington in a 
very hush-hush sort of way and in an isolated room at that agency we were 
interviewed by the director of the Immigration Office at that time. And present 
at that interview was the colonel in charge of our project representing the 
War Department and the head of the Immigration Department. An exchange of 
papers took place and we at that moment switched from the custody of the 
Army to the custody of the immigration authorities. It didn't mean that we 
were already bonafide immigrants; we were in the custody of the immigration 
authorities until an arrangement could be made for us to make a legal entry 
into the country, because we were at that point under custody as illegal 
aliens, but it gave us all the freedom that we wanted, and that was wonderful. 
However, the Army was still responsible for holding us as far as our work with 
classified material was concerned. 

Of course, in the preceding narrative I have telescoped events, They 
were developing much slower than it would seem from jny narrative in this 
chapter. Actually the whole process of our transfer from the custody of the 
Army to the custody of the immigration authorities, including an arrangement 
for illegal entry into the United States and obtaining status of legal 
immigrants, took about 2 1/2 years, from our arrival in the United States on 

- 498 - 

25 May 1945 until the exceptionally interesting moment of our legal entry into 

the United States, arranged jointly by the Army and State Department, on 13 November 


Before going into the details pertaining to my life during that long 
period I should emphasize that in spite of the fact that this whole period of 
my life was full of drama and changes and the search for a new way of living 
in a new country, I was aware of how insignificant these personal problems 
were when projected against the great and awesome events which were taking 
place in the whole world. They included the birth of atomic energy, introducing 
us to the atomic age, of the end of World War II the most terrible war known 
to humanity and finally the dangers grown from the dangerous growth of communist 
power in the world, which confirmed my predictions made for the Department of 
the Army in my reports. 

Chapter 72 Scenario X 

In order to shorten my narrative I have again to telescope the time of 
events which took place during that period, and certain events too. First 
of all I have to express my deep gratitude to the Army Intelligence for the 
wonderful job it did in handling our case and making our life comfortable and 
secure. As we kept our part of the bargain, providing the War Department 
with important and sensitive information dealing with complex problems arising 
from the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, Army 
Intelligence scrupulously kept its part of the bargain with us. Throughout 
the time that we were in the Washington area and working on the assigned 
classified project the intelligence branch provided us with room and board, medical 
aid, extra facilities, etc., never charging us a penny, while our salaries 
were accumulating in our personal accounts in the branch bank of the Pentagon, 
and securing for us employment after we finally left the Washington area. As 

- 499 - 

long as I live I will remember with the deepest gratitude all the wonderful 
people at the Army Intelligence headquarters who were associated with our project, 
I wanted to repay my debt to the United States and the Army and Providence 
gave me a wonderful opportunity to do that. Of course for the fist two 
years, as I already described, I worked very thoroghly on the project for Army 
Intelligence. My work was recognized by a letter from the Intelligence 
headquarters covering that period. It was a letter of commendation issued 
by the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff of Intelligence, and it read 
as follows: 

"This is to certify that Alexander Paul Albov, born 29 June 1901 
at Lomzha, Poland, performed in a superior manner the service of 
special advisor to the War Department of the United States 
government continuously during the period 1st June 1945 through 
15 November 1947. Mr. Albov rendered exceptionally meritorious 
service to the government of the United States, and is commended 
for his valuable assistance to theWar Department during the afore 
mentioned period. Signed, Robert L. Ashworth, Colonel, 
General Staff, Chief Administrative Division." 

My work at the Army Language School, later renamed the Defense Language 
Institute, was also appreciated by the Army, and shortly before my retirement 
from the D.L.I. I got a bronze medal, the Meritorious Service Award of the 
Department of the Army, with a citation which reads as follows: 

"Department of the Army, Decoration for meritorious civilian service, 
Alexander P. Albov has received official commendation for meritorious 
performance of duty and citation for exemplary service as director 
of the Eastern Slavic Division, D.L.I., West Coast Branch, from 
1 January 1960 through 31 December 1970. During this period Professor 
Albov demonstrated unusual initiative in devising new and improved 

- 500 - 

work methods and procedures which effected a substantial saving 
in manpower. He achieved outstanding results in the Russian 
language training program and rendered public relations service 
of a distinctive character. As a consequence of Professor Albov's 
personal effort and leadership the D.L.I. West Coast Branch has 
gained an outstanding reputation in the United States and abroad 
for the Russian language training program, Signed Stanley Lassen, 
Lieutenant General." 

I quote these two citations not for the purpose of bragging but to show 
how much I appreciated my newly adopted country and how much I tried to do my 
best to repay all the wonderful things that this country provided to me. I 
should be remembered that during the period between the years 1945 and 1947 
the Cold War was initiated by the Soviets, who after the end of World War II 
not only did not demobilize their armed forces but kept them at full strength 
and initiated the most open and shameful aggression against their neighbors, 
which resulted in the subjugation of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, 
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania, The western 
allies with the leadership of the United States managed to preserve in Eastern 
Europe the integrity and freedom of only two countries, Austria and Greece, 
My prophesy, expressed in innumerable memoranda which I have written about the 
real intentions of Soviet Russia, came true, and belatedly the general staff 
of the U.S. Army, and particularly the Intelligence Branch of the Army, agreed 
with me that the idea of preserving and utilizing the anti-communist Russian 
forces embodied in the Vlasov Liberation Army in Germany had not been a bad 
idea and could have helped the United States in her struggle against communism 
in the Cold War. 

Our group, coming to the United States from Europe with the help of 
U.S. Intelligence, actually blazed the trail for a stream of defectors from 

- 501 - 

the Soviet Union which included not only high ranking officers of the Soviet 
Army but also members of the Soviet diplomatic corps, etc. They included 
such names as Kravchenko, who later published the best seller, I Chose Freedom; 
Barmine, who later became head of the Russian program of the Voice of America; 
the famous Gouzenko, the cipher clerk of the Soviet embassy in Canada, who 
provided the Western world with valuable information pertaining to the Soviet 
espionage system, and finally, the tragic figure of Colonel Penkovsky, whose 
Penkovsky papers became a must reading for the American intelligence community. 
All of them followed in the footsteps of the three of us, Novak, Litvin and 

While living at the cabin at Fort Hunt we were close to nature and learned 
many things about nature of that Washington area. We were fascinated by 
the blue jays; their behavioral pattern was a very interesting one. They were 
very aggressive, attacking any food that was left on the table outside our 
cabin. Then we also observed the beautiful bird called the cardinal. I had 
never seen these two birds in the Old World. 

As soon as we were put under the jurisdiction of theimmigration authorities 
we were much freer and started to go to downtown Washington. First we arranged 
our financial matters in the bank located in the Pentagon, and were amazed 
at how much money we had accumulated within that time. We bought things right 
and left, first of all of course civilian clothing. I bought myself both, winter 
and wuramer suits, shoes, and so forth, and even a tuxedo, though there was of 
course no occasion yet to use it anywhere. I started to go to the Russian church, 
which was located in the center of Washington in a little private house, and 
in that church after the service I met several former friends of mine from the 
Belgrade era, and through them I met the girl who was destined to become my wife. 
Tekla was singing in the church choir; she had a beautiful contralto voice and 
it was love at first sight. I started courting her at that very moment r-it 

- 502 - 

was 1946 and we were married in California on 18 June 1948. 

But although we were free we were still technically under custody of 
the immigration authorities but working under the auspices of the Pentago. We 
were moved several times. From Fort Hunt, which was a very closely restricted 
area, we moved to the huge military post called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, 
a Corps of Engineers post. We lived there also in a BOQ (Bachelor Officers 
quarter) , with one of the officers who shared our accommodations there and 
helped us with everything. From there we moved south to Fort Meyer. This 
was very close to the famous Pentagon Building. Actually we were already 
working part time in the Pentagon, going from Fort Meyer through an underground 
tunnel to the Pentagon. We were already completely free, and living at Fort 
Meyer provided us with the opportunity to go often to Washington, D.C. because 
there were buses running by and taxis were available. 

My insistence at not changing my name was confirmed very dramatically 
one day when the three of us, accompanied by our friend, whom I will call 
Captain Black, were walking by the old Willard Hotel in the center of 
Washington, when we came face to face with my former boss in the UP office in 
Belgrade, George Kidd. 

"Alex!" he shouted, and came up to me. "What are you doing here? 
We all though that you had died in Germany!" 

Captain Black, who wore civilian clothes, was very excited. He was shocked 
that somebody in Washington had recognized jne, and he was particular lyupset 
because Novak and Litvin were in our group. 

And then the most ridiculous scene took place. Captain Black came to 
me and George Kidd and interrupting our conversation said, "You must excuse 
us, sir," addressing George Kidd, "we are in a great hurry and have to go," and 
asked me to follow him, so we were started almost running down Pennsylvania 
Avenue. My friends asked me loudly in Russian, "What's happening?" and George 

- 503 - 

Kidd was left behind standing stunned by the whole thing. Turning my head I 
saw, however, that he started to walk following our group. Captain Black 
rushed us into the restaurant, O'Donnells, once famous for its sea food. He 
then asked me who the man was who recognized me, and I told him that it was 
my former boss from United Press, George Kidd. Captain Black was kind of 
relieved by this, but at that moment George Kidd came into the restaurant, 
and came up to me asking questions and looking very suspiciously at my friends. 
However, Captain Black didn't give us a chance to talk much. He came to George 
Kidd, took him aside, and talked to him almost in whispers, apparently showing 
him his ID card identifying him as an intelligence officer. After that 
he came to us, paid for the drinks and we left the restaurant. As we passed 
George Kidd he shouted to me, "Alex, I hope I will see you soon!" But Captain 
Black went out, hailed a taxi and off we went back to Fort Hunt. 

The whole thing was, of course, ridiculous, but it brought home to our 
intelligence officers that it was useless to change my name since I might be 
recognized anywhere not only by Russians but by the Americans. 

But there is an interesting end to that story. George Kidd at that time 
after he left United Press had become an officer of Navy intelligence, and he 
was conscious that something very strange had happened to his former friend and 
collaborator in the U.P. , so he filed a report to his superiors in the Navy 
intelligence describing the whole strange scene, that he had seen me in Washington 
on the street near the Willard Hotel, that I was with some strange characters 
talking Russian, and with an officer who tried to prove to him that he was 
with Army Intelligence. That report went through to the highest authorities 
and, of course, reached our intelligence group leaders. When the whole thing 
was revealed, the Navy was satisfied with the explanation given by the Army 
Intelligence authorities and the incident ended with this exchange of reports 
between the two intelligence entities, the Navy and Army, and apparently it was 

- 504 - 

to George Kidd's satisfaction because later on he as well as Captain Black 
told me how concerned they were about the whole incident. George Kidd told 
me he was particularly concerned when he heard people talking Russian. 
He couldn't imagine what that could be. Seeing me somehow afraid to talk, he 
was under the impression, which he stressed in his report to the Navy 
Intelligence, that I might be in the hands of Soviet agents who were trying 
to kidnap me, or for some other purpose. 

After this, no one in our Intelligence ever raised the question again 
about the desirability of changing my name. So I retained our old family 
name up to the present time. My son will carry that name and will pass it on 
to his family, and I hope his family will continue that tradition. 

In the meantime, my work at the Pentagon, as well as my social life, 
intensified. I met many people and now I was free to go anywhere I wanted 
to since I was now under the jurisdiction of the Immigration Office, and although 
still an illegal alien in that custody, we were free to go anywhere, and I 
continued to meet more and more friends and to continue courting my future 
wife. We continued meeting at the Willard Hotel bar after her and my office 
hours; we went to concerts at Constitution Hall and we even travelled to New 
York one day. 

Of course, I was particularly pleased that I managed to finally 
establish contact with Tania in Germany. It was done through a friend of mine, 
Colonel Denison, whose official address I used. 

I didn't know to whom to write, so I got the address of Metropolitan 
Anastasii, the head of the Russian Church in Exile, who was very close to our 
family and who certainly, I was sure, would know the whereabouts of my sister 
Tania. So I wrote him advising him that I was safe and sound in the United 
States and I was hoping to reestablish contact with Tania. Finally a letter 
came; she was enthusiastic at hearing that everything was all right with me, 

- 505 - 

since they had heard terrible rumors that I had been captured by the Soviets, 
taken over and tortured and killed, etc. and she asked me to try to help her 
come to the United States. She had some good friends, one of them I discovered 
was a pretty big wheel in Wall Street, so I went to him and asked for an 
affidavit, which he gladly gave me to sent to Tania so she could come here. 

I was in constant correspondence with Tania, however she complained 
that her heart was weak, and asked me to send a particular medicine that 
was not available in Germany at that time, and I managed to do so. Everything 
was all right until the sad day of August 27, 1947. I was working at our 
quarters in the south post of Fort Meyer and when Denison came in holding 
in his hand some kindof paper. It was an awfully hot day, I was working in 
my pajamas. He said, "Sit down, don't get excited, I'm afraid I have some bad 
news for you." 

"What is it?" I asked. 

He said, "We have just been notified that your sister Tania passed away 
in Germany." 

It was a terrible shock to me. 

I knew that people there like Metropolitan Anastasii would take care 
of her burial, etc., but my hope of reuniting my family faded away. We had 
memorial services in Washington attended by Tekla and many other friends. 
Tekla knew how much I was looking forward to Tania coming to the United States. 

Our intelligence officers were exchanged and the late Colonel Edwin L. 
Clark was put in charge of our group. He was a real friend and benefactor and 
helped me in many ways. He took care of our future. One day, it was early 
November, he told me to tell my friends to get ready to fly to El Paso. He asked 
me only not to give the details of that flight to my friends, but to keep it 
to myself. He said that we would be flown with him in an army plane to El Paso, 
where we would stop overnight at Fort Bliss. Fort Bliss is an ordnance 

- 506 - 

research and development sub-office for rocketry. It was a classified 

We made the flight in a special two-engined aircraft which held about 
12 people. We boarded it one morning and we flew to Texas. I believe we 
stopped at Dallas and then flew farther to El Paso. Because it was November 
it was a very bumpy flight. Colonel Clark, who accompanied us, suffered 
much from air sickness. Here for the first time I saw something which I 
had seen before only in the movies. He carried our documents in an attache 
case which was handcuffed to his wrist so that he would never lose it in any 
way. Before departure a military photographer was called who took pictures 
of us needed for passport or something, and we flew with all these documents 
to Fort Bliss. There we stayed overnight, I still have a special pass permitting 
my friends and me to move around Fort Bliss, which was a classified base. 

And then a most unusual procedure took place. We arrived at Fort Bliss 
on the9th of November. On the 10th of November after breakfast we were all 
ready and a limousine with the American consul general of Juarez came with 
his car from Mexico. We were asked to sit in his car, with the American flag 
on his limousine, the consul general and his driver drove across the border 
into the Mexican territory of Juarez without being asked or stopped because 
he was a consul general in his car. At the consulate building we were given 
an affidavit in lieu of passport in which we swore our names, ages, and so 
forth, and that document, which actually served as a passport, was stamped by the 
consular authorities, the photographs taken in Washington were affixed to that 
document and then when that procedure was accomplished we drove in the consular 
limousine to the border. This time we stopped at the border, and emerged 
from the car. The Mexican authorities stamped the document as an exit from 
Juarez; the American authorities on the other side of the border stamped it, 
and we paid some kind of $8 tax per head as an entrance fee to the United States. 

- 507 - 

That was the most important moment. Finally, on the 10th of November 1945, 
we were admitted legally to the United States of America. It was a wonderful 
feeling. Now we were no longer aliens in the custody of the Immigration 
Office but were bonafide immigrants. We were very happy about that; at 
Fort Bliss we had a few drinks to celebrate and shortly after that we took 
off for Washington in the same special plane that had brought us there. It 
is hard to describe my feelings, how happy I was at that time. Finally the 
era of troubles and turbulence had ended, and I think it would be appropriate 
if at this point I changed the scenario, and from 10 November 1947 I became 
a legal immigrant into the United States. 

I mentioned before, thatwhile we were still living at Fort Hunt the 
famous Werner von Braun, the German father of modern rockety was brought 
from Germany, and was also at Fort Hunt. I found later that he went through 
the same procedure as we. Of course he didn't fly in our airplane, but 
according to an item in the local newspaper, dated 30 January 1977, they were 
taken to Mexico, and then walked back across the Rio Grande between Juarez 
and El Paso to gain official status as immigrants, a procedure similar to 
that employed with us. 

The return flight was also very bumpy. Again Colonel Clark suffered 
from air sickness, but he was happy about our little adventure because the mission 
was successfully accomplished. There was only one moment of anxiety. It was 
already dark when we approached Washington and the pilot was looking with 
his flashlight .at the wingtips of the plane because he noticed that ice was 
forming there. At that time they didn't have the de-icing devices that they 
have now, but we landed safely. 

After arrival at Washington things moved rapidly. We arrived late in the 
evening of the 10th of November and first thing in the morning on the llth 
I was summoned to the Pentagon and was told to be ready for a new assignment. 

- 508 - 

I was told that I was going to be interviewed by a certain Colonel Hathaway. 

Colonel Hathaway said, "Well, now that you are a bona fide immigrant, we have 
a job for you." 

"A job?" I exclaimed. 

"Yes, a job! As a teacher of Russian at the Army Language School, which 
is located in one of the most beautiful posts in the United States, in 
California, at Monterey." 

I was pleased and shocked, as I suddenly realized that I was going to 
cut my ties with all my friends, but I had no choice, for I had to start 
working and earning money. 

"Of course there will be an interview," he said. "One of the aspects 
of thatinterview will be for you to prove that you know the Russian language 
well. I would like you to talk to a captain who is our expert in Russian 
language, who is going to interview you." 

He took me to another office and introduced me to a young captain, who 
greeted me in Russian. The moment he opened his mouth and greeted me I 
realized that his Russian was not of the native category. So I thought, 
"All right I will show you how the Russians say that," so he started asking 
questions and I gave him answers in such a way that I would probably give to 
some graduate student in Moscow, in the most sophisticated imaginary language 
possible. He listened with open mouth, grasping apparently only a few words 
here and there, and in the middle of one of my sentences he just stopped and 
said, "All right, all right, you know Russian quite well. Thank you very much, 
just wait here." 

Chapter 74 Scenario XI 

I was told to get ready for departure within a few days, that my travel orders 
would be cut very soon and the date of departure determined. 

- 509 - 

I had to get ready fast, packing my belongings. For that Tekla and my 
friends were very helpful. First I had to buy an army style footlocker, 
which I sent to California by railway express. I filled it with lots of 
clothing and things which I had acquired while living in Washington. We had 
a couple of farewell parties, and in my talks with Tekla it was almost agreed 
upon that if I got a secure permanent job in California she would come and 
marry me there, which made me very happy. 

Three days after that, on the 14th of November, my travel orders were 
cut and given to me, but when I received them I was told a story which I was 
told was classified. The Army Intelligence was still concerned about me and 
they said that they would send me to California by Army aircraft, at that 
time of the Army Air Transport Command, in a direct flight from Washington 
National Airport to Fairfield-Suisun Army Airforce Base, now called Travis 
Airforce Base, where I would be given a vehicle to be driven to the Presidio of 

Colonel Hathaway when telling me of my forthcoming assignment told me. 
"Mr. Albov, you are a lucky fellow. You are going to be assigned to an Army 
language school where you will be a teacher of Russian to military personnel 
and you will be living on the most beautiful post of the entire United States 
Army, which is located on the Monterey Peninsula at a historic place called 
the Presidio of Monterey. It is a beautiful place climatically and otherwise. 
You will enjoy living there and I hope you will make a career there. However, 
we are concerned about your security until you are safely in the Army Language 
School. Therefore, your travel orders will not be cut with your name in them. 
You will be travelling instead incognito, under the name of Mr. Harry V. 
Thompson, a civilian consultant for the Department of the Army and you will 
reveal your real identity only when you arrive at the Presidio of Monterey when 
you first report to the commandant of the Army Language School. He said when 

- 510 - 

reporting to that commandant who will be advised in advance who you are, 
then everything will be all right . 

It is interesting how these orders were written. I will read the 
contents, from the copy which I still possess. 


Subject Invitational travel orders 14 Nov 1947 
issued by the Dept of the Army, the Adjutant General's Office. 
To the commanding general, Air Transport Command, 
Par. 1 Mr HARRY V. THOMPSON, a civilian consultant for 
the army, Washington DC is hereby directed to report to the 
Commanding Officer, Air Transport Command Terminal, Washington 
National Airport, not later than 0830, 15 Nov 1947, for 
transportation by air to Fairfield Suisun Army Airfield, 
California, thence to the Presidio of Monterey, Monterey, 
California, reporting upon arrival to the commandant, Army 
Language School, for temporary duty of approximately 7 days and 
upon completion thereof to return by air to proper station. 
Travel by military aircraft is directed as necessary in the 
military service for accomplishment of an emergency mission 
and no fare therefore will be assessed. Baggage to accompany 
the individual will be marked with the owner's full name, 
will accompany the individual to the port of aerial embarkation 
and will be limited to a total of 100 pounds. The Commanding 
General, Air Transport Command, will furnish the necessary air 
transportation and coordinate with all concerned. By order 
of the Sec of the Army, Adjutant General 


Copies were furnished the individual through Major Gibbs, ID, 
10 copies, Major Gibbs 2 copies, CO Washington DA Air 
Transport Command 2, CO Fairfield Suisun Army Airforce Base, 
Calif 2, Commandant Army Language School, Monterey, California, 2 
Budget Section, AGO, 1. 

So this was the orders under which I travelled. It was explained to me not 
to get alarmed, that it was only a 7 day assignment. They had to include 
that in my travel orders in order to be able to avoid paying my transportation. 
"When you arrive there," they said, "your return will be cancelled, since Mr. 
Harry Thompson will vanish into thin air." 

An Army sedan was sent to pick me up with my luggage, and before going 
I called Tekla. She and I were saddened by our separation, but I had high 

- 511 - 

hopes for the future, and apparently so did she. 

So I boarded the plane; it was a big plush affair. There were stewardesses 
w-o were army WAG personnel, there were stewards who served also the food and 
drinks; there were even a couple of card tables for playing bridge. I was 
very much impressed by the whole accommodation. We took off at 0930, flying 
west. There were not many passengers; not all the seats of that huge plane 
were filled. 

Everything was fine and serene and I knew that it was supposed to be 
a non-stop flight. Since the winter days are short, suddenly it became dark 
and then the weather got bad. At that time the aircraft did not have 
pressurized cabins and therefore we were flying relatively low. In order to 
fly over really bad weather we had to climb to over 19,000 feet, which was 
considered dangerous for human beings and all of us were given ozygen masks. 
The weather got worse and worse. We were approaching the continental divide; 
it was dark but through the windows I could see the snow flying past the 
darkened windows. 

Then something strange happened. A sergeant came from the pilot's 
compartment in front bringing with him a flashlight. The flooring of the plane 
was a beautiful soft carpet. The sergeant stopped near the seat where I was 
sitting and took a pen knife out of his pocket and cut out a piece of that 
carpet. I watched him in consternation not realizing what was going on. Under 
neath there was something like a cover. He then brought a scredriver and 
unscrewed something. There was a little hole, he looked with his flashlight 
inside of thathole, put the cover back, screwed it up, put the piece of 
carpet over that and rushed to the pilot. The pilot summoned the 2 stewardesses, 
in black uniforms. I began to feel uneasy, realizing that something unusual 
was going on. 

Suddenly a stewardess, looking very pale, came out of the pilot's cabin 
and through an intercom system addressed the passengers. 

- 512 - 

"Gentlemen," she said, "I have an announcement to make at the request 
of the captain." And then she made an introductory remark which shook me up. 
She said, "you know that when you take off in an aircraft any kind of emergency 
can happen. " 

At the word "emergency" my heart sank. 

She said, "we are flying against very strong headwinds, which have 
considerably delayed our flight. We have checked our auxiliary tanks which are 
already very low. " Now I know why the sergeant ripped the carpets and looked 
into something on the floor. "And therefore," she continued," we will not make 
the Suisun airfield in California but we'll have to land somewhere in between 
to get gas. " 

After that speech I really didn't feel too well. 

"Please don't get upset," she said, "we have an experienced pilot who 
will try" I didn't like that word "to bring our plane to safety in Ogden, 
Utah. It will take approximately an hour and a half of our flight time." 

I must say I spent most of this hour and a half in meditation and praying 
as I had prayed only in real time of trouble. Finally the pilot announced 
that we were approaching Ogden Air Base, and when I looked down and saw the 
lights of the airport again I gave a sigh of relief. We landed safely in Ogden. 
The weather was terrible; it was snow and wind, and the pilot said that he 
had decided that after refueling we were not going to continue to Suisun Air 
Base until morning, by which time, according to the forecast, the weather would 
improve. So we spent the rest of the night at the airport. In the morning 
the weather had indeed improved. The airplane was gassed fully and we took off. 
We arrived at our destination, Fairfield Suisun Aany Air Force Base, around noon 
on the 16th. 

From there I had to proceed to the Presidio of Monterey. My orders 
were like magic, they opened all doors. An Army Air Flrce sedan and driver 

- 513 - 

were given me and he drove me all the way from the present day Travis Air 
Force Base to Monterey where I arrived late at night on the 16th of November. 

I located the duty officer, a very nice captain of Japanese descent, 
and asked him if it would be too late to call the commandant to tellhim 
that I had arrived . 

He said, "No, I will call the commandant, for we were expecting you. 
He knows that something delayed your arrival." So he called the commandant 
at his quarters and told him that a certain Harry Thompson had arrived from 
Washington. The commandant said, "All right, arrange for him a room at the 
bachelor officers quarters, take care for him, and ask him to report to me 
first thing in the morning tomorrow, the 17th of November." 

I was hungry so told that to the captain. He said, "All right, 
everything is closed all ready, so we will go to a little cafe at the 
entrance to the Presidio." This cafe still stands there, at the entrance to 
the Presidio from Pine Street. That was the only time I was ever in it. 

We went there, the cafe was still open, but they didn't have any food, 
but at the captain's insistence they said that the would prepare me some 
scrambled eggs, toast and milk. So I had my first supper at midnight at that 
cafe,, and then the duty officer drove me to the bachelor officer's quarters, 
where a nice room was assigned to me. He told me where the shower room 
was, toilets, etc. and I settled down there. 

The first thing in the morning I put on the best suit I had. I didn't 
have much to choose from because my best clothing was travelling in the foot- 
locker by express. 

At 0800 I went to the headquarters. At that time one commandant, 
Colonel Thorpe, was leaving and another, Colonel Barnwell, was assuming command, 
so I reported to both of them. I showed Colonel Barnwell my orders and 
he said, "You can reveal your proper name now. We know that you are Alexander 

- 514 - 

Albov. The orders can be destroyed." They called the head of the Russian 
program, the director of the Slavic division, Major Mitchell. He came and 
greeted me warmly. 

I got a room in quarters closer to the classrooms, near the chapel, 
in what is now called the Chapel Annex. 

Major Mitchell told me that I was going to teach in a few days but first 
I would have to go and observe classes in order to get acquainted with the 
methodology and approach so he said I would have about two or three days for 
that before I would start teaching. 

Well, I believed in that, however something happened to one of the 
instructors and they needed a substitute at once, so after a couple of hours 
observing classes in action, and teaching in these classes, I was called 
by Major Mitchell, who said, "I am sorry, Mr. Albov, but I have to send you 
to class immediately." 

This was quite a shock but by now I was ready for anything and it was 
nothing compared to what I had experienced in the past. Anyhow I was sent 
to a classroom, given a textbook and told, "You start teaching at this page 
and that paragraph and so forth". I had only a vague idea of what to do. 
However, when I entered the classroom, in which there were six students, some of 
them officers, and some non-commissioned officers, who eagerly looked at me, 
seeing a new face, I introduced myself as their new instructor, opened the book 
and started teaching. Something strange happened to me at that moment of my first 
exposure to a class. I realized that I liked the teaching process and 
this, as the French say, coup de foudre determined my future career in teaching. 
I suddenly felt that this was going to be my profession, that I liked to see 
these students, that I liked to look at them, see their eagerness to learn 
something from me because I was the only source of information that I could 
convey to them, and so I carried on teaching. 

- 515 - 

However, I was a little disappointed with the text materials that I 
was given, but I considered it too early to start criticising the text 
materials but after time was passing and I was teaching by the way Class No. 1 
of the Russian program, with every day I realized that the textbooks were not 
fit for this particular program because it was an intensive language course and the 
text materials were not prepared for this, so each instructor had to improvise. 
I didn't mind the improvisation, but at the same time we had an obligation to 
cover certain materials and I had to cover that fast and then improvise 
explaining certain grammar rules and so forth, and that was a task. 

By the time the first class had to graduate which was in the middle of 
December and seeing the prepared final examination I went to thehead of the 
Russian department and told him I would like to suggest some different final 
test than the one that had been prepared by some one else. "Why?", he asked. 
I said, "the final examination doesn't test all the aspects of language 
training that we exposed the students to." 

"All right," he said, "you say that you don't like this final examination, 
sit down and prepare your own and we will see whether it will be accepted or not." 

I eagerly started working on a final test and I was thinking of the 
future assignments for the graduates of the Russian program. I knew that they 
would be certain to be put in the position of interpreters, interrogaters, etc., 
so my final test was prepared with the stress on translation and interpreting, 
particularly oral interpreting. I visualized that an instructor should ask 
question of the examinee, then one student would translate thatinto English, 
the other would translate the answer back into Russian and vice versa. The 
students would have to ask questions in Russian which would be translated in 
English, and so forth. My intention was to test their ability to act as 
translators and oral interpreters and also I prepared a written examination on 
similar bases and even requested certain narratives. 

- 516 - 

When I submitted my draft for a final examination it was immediately 
approved. I must say that the leadership of this nucleus Russian faculty 
they were not very experienced teachers and therefore they liked any kind of 
suggestion and innovation that would improve the testing system. 

Well, this encouraged me and after a couple of months I came to the 
conclusion that the existing, commercially produced textbooks were not fit 
for the intensive program that we used at the Army Language School, as it was 
called at that time, that we should develop our own text materials, because 
what we had been given were haphazardly taken from reading portions and 
crammed vocabulary in these segments were not unified; it was hard to teach 
and I realized that the students were suffering; they did not learn as fast as 
they should. I finally gained courage and went to see Major Mitchell, at that 
time director of the Slavic group, and told him what I thought of the course. 
He listened attentively and said, "You have a point here, however, in the Army 
an oral report is not sufficient. Why don't you sit down I'll let you teach 
less classes and prepare a written report with your suggestions for changes 
in text materials and so forth." 

I was happy about that ; I had already certain ideas so I put them down 
and prepared a report. I heard later that my report was taken and shown to 
the commandant, who apparently was impressed by my suggestions and this resulted 
later in something that I will tell later. 

However, I have to tell a kind of interesting experience I has as an 
instructor. It is probably known to all educators that students, when they 
see a new instructor, they want to kind of test him on his ability to keep calm 
under any kind of pressures and interruptions and so forth. It so happened that 
in one of my classes, consisting of only officers, there was a Major B . He 
apparently wanted to see how long I would endure his student's tricks, so during 
my introductory class he made some smart remarks, asked some obviously foolish 

- 517 - 

questions and took too much of my time. I told him, "Major, please do not 
interrupt the class. I will come to the point; I will explain to you." But 
he continued that and what was particularly unnerving was that all his smart 

remarks usually resulted in the students laughing. I didn't like that for 

I realized that it undermined my prestige as an instructor, which is^ very 

important aspect of teaching. 

Finally, after two or three days, I had had enough and I asked Major 
B to see me after class. He came to my faculty room after class and since 
there were several instructors there I said, "Major, we had better step 
outside, as I want to talk to you privately." And I told him, "Major, let us 
make it clear, you know that you are interrupting class procedure; you are 
trying to make a laughing stock of me with your smart remarks and I'll tell 
you one thing, that if it doesn't end I will go to the Slavic Division director, 
Major Mitchell, or even to the commandant and I will tell them that after 
this either you or I will remain in this school; we cannot cooperate unless 
you put an end to this." 

I must give credit to him, the next time I came to that class, he stood 
up and in the presence of all the other students told me, "1 have been 
considering everything that you told me. Yes, I was foolishly playing some 
kind of tricks on you, and I promise you, in the presence of my colleagues, 
the officers here, that it will never happen again'." He came up to me, shook 
hands , and I must say that until the end of the cours e he never did anything 
to obstruct the teaching and he was one of my greatest supporters in everything 
that we were doing in and outside of the classroom. 

But as we went deeper into teaching, I saw that although the faculty 
was growing, there was no way to train them, nobody to tell them how to teach. 
I saw the need to do something drastic, and talked about this on several occasions 
with Major Mitchell, who was fully on my side. 

- 518 - 

Here I insert something of a personal nature. In 1948 Tekla finally 
decided that we should get married. She came from Washington to California, 
and we were married on the 18th of June in the Presidio Chapel. It was a very 
happy occasion, but since only one of her relatives could come so far from 
the east coast to the west, only her niece managed to come here, representing 
her family at our wedding, so upon the advice of some of my friends, officer- 
students, I went to the commandant and asked him to give my wife away, in 
place of her father. It was in the army tradition they said, and I must say 
itwas a wonderful ceremony, with lots of friends, both faculty and students 
and after the reception at the officers' club, which was possible because it 
was a regular commandant's reception of that day, we settled down. At that 
time married faculty were assigned living quarters in the so-called Ord 
Village. It was military living quarters for the officers and an exception 
was made also for the married members of the Army Language School faculty. 

Another thing I should mention was that in April 1949 Michael was born 
and that was the most, of course the most, significant moment of our lives. 
We had gradually managed to buy some furniture, and I was concerned about the 
fate of Lusha, the devoted servant who after the death of my sister in 
Munich remained there alone. She was helping some other families, but she 
wanted to come to the United States. Through the Red Cross I managed to arrange 
that. Tekla gave an affidavit and she finally came to help Tekla in taking 
care of our baby, Michael. 

While Tekla was still in the hospital after giving birth to Michael, 
the commandant called me in, and told me that I was being selected as one of the 
four instructors representing various language groups to go to Cornell University 
in New York and take a course there in language teaching methodology and 
linguistics. The time of departure was set for August. I was very proud of 
this assignment, for I knew that I needed some post-graduate work in the sciences 

- 519 - 

directly related to my position as a teacher. I was a little afraid to leave 
Tekla and our new-born son at that time, but everything ended all right. 

Four of us made the trip. I represented the Slavic Group, another 
man Far Eastern languages, a third one the Romance-Germanic languages, and a 
fourth one the Near Eastern languages. At Cornell we attended some very 
interesting courses. We had a brilliant group of professors in linguistics 
and language teaching and methodology. The courses were very intensive and we 
were given tremendous amounts of background materials to read in the evenings; 
I barely had time to sleep sometimes, studying until 2 or 3 o'clock in the 
morning, then getting up at 7 o'clock, but the whole thing was worthwhile. 
We had such well known professors of linguistics as Cowan, Charles Hockett, 
Robert Hall and William Bolton all familiar names for anyone who studied 
linguistics. At that time the structural linguistics was based on theories 
developed by Bloomfield, so it was called Bloomfieldian linguistics at that time. 

Chapter 76 Scenario XI 

At this point I have to go back a little bit to tell what kind of assignment 
I had before I was sent to Cornell. It was probably a contributing factor 
for my selection to go to Cornell. The story was this: the Department of the 
Army requested that an Army language proficiency test be developed to test 
the ability or knowledge of the Russian language by army personnel who claimed 
this knowledge. I had to prepare the proficiency test at five levels. To 
avoid any chance of compromising this test I was asked to work on it alone with 
only one bilingual typist assigned to me. I also personally had to voice record 
the entire test. That Army language proficiency test was used for over ten 
years by all army installations in the US and overseas. I think the qualified 
people in Washington were impressed by the contents of the test that I prepared 
and apparently they told the commandant of this, and he was sufficiently impressed 

- 520 - 

so that he selected me to go to Cornell. It created a little jealousy among 
some of the higher grade instructors who thought that they had come earlier to 
the school, particularly the chairman of the Russian department, but that was 
the commandant's decision. 

Upon my return from Cornell I made a thorough report about everything 
I learned there, and also made some specific suggestions how our programs 
in Russian and other Slavic languages could be improved. My report was 
endorsed and accepted by the commandant and I was given the task of implementing 
the suggested procedure. Since I was just a simple instructor it was hard 
for me to do anything, so the commandant ordered that I be elevated to the 
position of assistant director of the Slavic Language Division. That was in 1949. 

Now I had a free hand to start implementing this program. I was told 
to give^series of lectures to the faculty personnel, which included Russian 

instructors and instructors of the Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Czech and 
Polish departments the entire Slavic division. 

It should be remembered that all this was happening at the time of 
intensification of the so-called cold war between the United States and the 
Soviet Union. Even when we were flying from Monterey to Ithaca via Washington 
we couldn't fly direct because all army planes were at that time being used 
to alleviate the terrible conditions in Berlin, the so-called Berlin blockade. 
The situation was very tense, not unlike what happened much later in the 
so-called confrontation about the Cuban missiles. Since the number of students 
that were taught at the Army Language School depended on the overall strategic 
situation in the United States, there were increased demands for recruiting 
more faculties, since the number of students who had to study Russian increased 
tenfold. So the question arose where to find these instructors. I told the 
commandant that the only way to send somebody to the East Coast where most 
of the people who came from Russia and from DP camps in Europe were, and to 

- 521 - 

screen and recruit them, particularly in New York and in Washington. I told 
the commandant that I felt myself qualified to do that because I had quite a 
few connections in New York, including the editors of the Russian newspapers 
and the Tolstoy Foundation which took care of Russian immigrants when they came 
to the United States, and I knew some people who occupied important positions 
in the United Nations in Flushing, New York. 

The commandant said he would consider that, and so one day in 1950 
he called me and said, smiling, 'Veil, Mr. Albov, I will call your bluff; I 
have given an order that you should go to the East Coast with a legal officer 
from my staff for the purpose of recruiting and bringing in a certain number 
of Russian instructors." 

The first group was to consist of about 20 people. I suggested that an 
announcement be made through the New York Russian language newspapers, and 
I sent official letters to the Tolstoy Foundation and other organizations 
advising them that a representative of the Army Language School my name was 
mentioned would interview people at the Henry Hudson Hotel, a hotel which 
was used by the military personnel for overseas assignment. I even sent 
a personal letter to the widow of the former commander of the White Army, 
Mrs. Xenia Denikin, she knew some people who were good instructors. 

It was a very hectic experience and an interesting one. The legal 
officer, who was a WAC major, and I stayed in that hotel, and we used a 
special area on the terrace for people to write their resumes. I prepared 
and gave each of the applicants certain topics which they would answer and 
write their stories. This was an important thing because I wanted besides 
the oral interview to check whether their speech had any impediment either 
physical, or grammatical, such as improper pronunciation. I wanted to see their 
ability to write correct literary Russian. Hundreds of people came and applied. 
The time of our presence in New York coincided with the outbreak of the Korean 

- 522 - 

War, so we got a wire from the Army Language School to hire even more instructors 
than initially planned. 

I must say that I was lucky. I met such wonderful people there, 
with such tremendous backgrounds, that we could easily select the cream of 
the crop. There were people of many professions. Some were professional 
instructors who came from the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. There 
were scientists and engineers, lawyers, doctors, well known writers, poets, and 
so forth, all of them a unique group of people, and very enthusiastic, because 
that was their first job of the kind that they were dreaming about. Before 
that they were either elevator operators or street cleaners; it was pathetic 
to listen to their stories; some of them didn't yet possess a good knowledge 
of English, but it didn't matter; we needed someone who really knew their 
Russian, who had a high level of proficiency. One difficulty for all of them 
was that the government didn' t provide any funds for their transportation, so 
they had to arrange for this transporation for themselves; in most cases they 
had to borrow money and repay it later from their salaries that they were 
saving here. 

I had to repeat this recruiting campaign several times. In 1950, 51, 
52 and 53 I went to recruit more and more Russian instructors because the Cold 
War was at its coolest at that time and the American armed forces needed more 
personnel speaking and understanding Russian. 

Speaking of the caliber of the faculty I would like to mention a few 
names. There was a Dr. Paul Orlov, hired in San Francisco. Besides going 
to the East Coast I also went there where quite a large group of Russian emigres 
had come from China, Harbin and Shanghai, usually via the Philippines-Tubabao. 
We even arranged with the steamship company that we would set up a reception 
point on the pier, and they were advised while they were still on the high 
seas that if they were interested in serving as instructors they should report to 

- 523 - 

that reception point, a desk with two of us, the legal advisor and I, sitting 
and waiting. One of the people who came to report was Dr. Orlov. He was one 
of the closest collaborators of the famous Professor Pavlov. When I went to 
Cornell Dr. Orlov asked me to see a certain professor there who he said he 
remembered from Leningrad-at that time still Petrograd when he came from the 
United States to study Pavlovian theory in order to set up similar programs 
for the study of animal reflexes at Cornell. So when I came to Cornell I 
called on that professor, and when he heard the name of Orlov he said, "Is 
it possible that he is a member of your faculty? I am so pleased to hear that. 
I would like for you to take to him a pamphlet which I have prepared because 
he was the man who helped me in studying with Professor Pavlov, who didn't 
speak English." And he sent through me to Dr. Orlov this pamphlet summarizing 
what had been achieved at Cornell University in the field of so-called 
Pavlovian reflexes. 

That was just one example. We had some well known poets and writers, 
whose poetry or stories were published and well known among the Russians 
everywhere in the world. There were scientists and that was important because 
at one time we were asked to start a scientific Russian program, and I had enough 
training in science to be able to organize that program. 

Then there were people like Prince Nikita Romanov, a nephew of the late 
Tsar Nicholas. In 1959 the Duke of Windsor came to Monterey to visit some of 
the old friends of the Duchess of Windsor who lived in this area and he went to 
the Navy post-graduate school which was here. One day shortly after his 
arrival the commandant called me and said, "Alex, you have in your faculty 
Prince Nikita Romanov. His second cousin, the Duke of Windsor is now in the 
Navy School and he has expressed a desire to see Prince Nikita. Since Prince 
Nikita doesn't have a car will you do me a favor and take Prince Nikita to 
the Navy school so that he can meet the Duke of Windsor?" 

- 524 - 

Well this event took place, and lots of pictures were taken at that 
meeting, and when I came to the Navy school I was met by the commandant and 
the late academic dean Glasgow and taken to the main hallway, and there was 
the Duke of Windsor. They were quite pleased to meet each other, and Prince 
Nikita introduced me with a smile and said, "What are you going to say to 
Prof. Albov? He is my bos'." The Duke of Windsor laughed and addressed me 
and said, "So you are Nikita 's boss? I would like to ask you: Is there a 
big difference between the Russian and English languages?" 

Well, thinking of them being distant cousins, I said, "Well, there is 
no big difference, because Russian and English are distant cousins. They 
belong to the same family of Indo-European languages and there are certain 
common words in both languages." He laughed like anything and photographers 
took pictures of that event, which I will attach to my narrative. 

Then the Duke of Windsor said, "Will you let Prince Nikita go now with 
me to meet the Duchess and have lunch with me?" 

I said, "Certainly, I will grant that permission," and at that we 
shook hands and I went back. 

Now back to my regular narrative. As I said, in 1949 upon my return from 

Cornell I was appointed Assistant Director of the East Slavic Division, which 


because of the large number of instructors was separated into special division 

which, in 1950 was reorganized into the Russian Language Division. I remained 
in that position until 1959, when I was appointed division director of the 
East Slavic Division, consisting of three Russian departments, a Ukrainian 
department and a Lithuanian department. And so my career continued until March 
1971 when, in addition to my duties as director of these five divisions, I was 
appointed Assistant Dean of the Russian programs. 

In addition to my regular duties as supervisory professor, director and 
assistant dean I was permanent member of the faculty board and academic board 

- 525 - 

councils, member of the executive award committee, member of the curriculum 
development board, member of the organizational committee for seminars, etc. 
That is, so to speak, my resume up to my retirement in May 1971. 

During these 24 1/2 years of work in the Army Language School and 
its successor the Defense Language Institute, I provided a course design for 
guidance and supervision over the several Russian courses and other materials 
in the Russian language. 

I was fortunate that the Russian faculty at the Army Language School 
was a constellation of great talents, which made it possible to develop an 
outstanding teaching staff. Among faculty members we had many highly professional 
linguists with long experience in course writing, teaching and lecturing. I 
won't mention them by name, but we had an expert in phonology, grammatical 
structure, language teaching methodology. We also had qualified experts in Russian 
military terminology such as a former Soviet General and a former Soviet airforce 
colonel and also a talented illustrator. I organized a group of these experts 
into a course development team which we called "The Academy" and they started 
to work developing texts for various purposes and different time situations. 

Chapter 77 Scenario XI 

In the last chapter I was narrating about the work on the development of 
courses in Russian at the Army Language School, later called the Defense Language 
Insitute. When we were developing these courses we had about four or five 
bilingual typists because of the volume of the material that had to be typed 
in draft and in final form. My role consisted in providing course design, 
guidance and supervision over development of these courses. As soon as certain 
courses were developed in draft form we tried them in the classrooms, and on 
the basis of classroom experience modified them when necessary. In their final 
form the courses were printed in book form andused as official Army Language 

- 526 - 

school Russian textbook materials. Through several years of intensive work 
we developed about ten different Russian text materials, such as a Russian 
47-week basic course; a Russian 37-week oral comprehension course; then a 
Russian 12-week intensive course; a Russian davanced course; a scientific 
Russian course; a 96-hour intermediate level language refresher course; two 
scientific Russian courses, one for 10-week and the other of 6-week duration, 
and some other materials like reference books, etc. Altogether while I 
was director we produced 146 volumes of materials with 23,988 typewritten 
pages and 127 tapes used by the students in the language labs. On my 
suggestion a videotape closed circuit TV program was introduced in the Russian 
classrooms. The Russian language text materials were not only used as a model 
by all other language departments of the Army Language School, now the DLI, 
but were copied and adopted by many friendly foreign armed forces such as 
Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Turkey and Nationalist China. 

The Russians courses developed under my guidance by this outstanding 
team of the Russian faculty of the DLI were also independently evaluated by 
many other institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and by the central 
Center of Applied Linguistics in Washington, B.C., and were found to be among 
the best of all the existing Russian intensive language courses in the land. 
To keep abreast of the development of the Russian language in the Soviet 
Union, thus keeping faculty aware of the continuous changes in the Russian 
language, I decided to build up a special research library. The command of the 
institute approved the idea and provided necessary funds. We subscribed to 
Soviet newspapers and periodicals dealing with practically all aspects of 
Soviet life such as current events, politics, economics, science, literature, 
military subjects and particularly linguistics and language teaching methodology. 
All these publications we were getting by air from Moscow, Publications 
dealing with linguistics and language in general were personally screened by 

- 527 - 

me and then abstracted and published as a reference pamphlet for the faculty. 
This publication was mandatory reading for the faculty members and of 
particular import for the personnel involved in course development, who used 
the material for updating new aspects of Russian phraseology and other changes 
in the Russian language under the Soviet system. These reference pamphlets 
eventually became known outside the DLI not only in the universities where 
the Russian language was taught but also in many government agencies which 
requested that we share with them our findings. The command approved that we 
supply all bonafide establishments asking for these publications and we printed 
them in ever larger number of copies and sent them out according to an ever 
growing and I believe that working at the DLI was the busiest time of my 
life. It lasted for close to 25 years. 

It should be stated that in addition to my supervision and guidance 
provided to the faculty I was responsible for implementing various orders, 
instructions and regulations of the military command of our institute every 
day, in addition to regular meetings with the department chairmen of my 
division I had to attend Conferences with the commandant, academic dean and 
sometimes chair meetings of the institute faculty and academic boards, incentive 
award committee, faculty promotion and curriculum development committees, 
organization committee of the school seminars, grievance committee, and so forth. 

The DLI had frequent visitors, both from military high command and 
various institutions of higher learning. Since our East Slavic Division was 
considered the best organized unit in the DLI, most of the visitors were 
brought to my office to provide briefings about the functioning of our teaching 
process, showing classroom activities. Participating at official luncheons, 
cocktail parties, etc. was also my responsibility. I had two secretaries, 
one stenotypist was also responsible for my filing system and calendar of 
events, and another one, bilingual for my voluminous correspondence both in 

- 528 - 

English and in Russian. 

I can proudly state that my work was appreciated by my superiors and 
that several times, beginning with the year 1963, I was officially commended 
by the Department of the Army for outstanding performance of duty, and 
in January 1971 was awarded by the Department of the Army a bronze medal 
for meritorious performance of duty from January 1 1960 through December 31 
1970. Later, already after my retirement and in recognition of my activities 
within civic organizations at local, national and international levels, 
the Department of the Army named me a Professor Emeritus of the DLI and I 
received a certificate of appreciation and a special badge for patriotic 
civilian service. It all sounds like bragging, but I am proud of my record 
of work in the interest of my second homeland, the United States of America. 

In addition to my regular duties and responsibilities as director of 
the East Slavic division I was involved in many extracurricular activities. 
I travelled to annual meetings of professional organizations such as the 
Modern Language Association, to various universities where I usually had to 
give a lecture, usually dealing with the subject of applied linguistics and 
its implementation in the Defense Language Institute. Then I was invited 
to give lectures on communism and the Soviet constitution and other subjects 
related to the Soviet Union and the dangers of communism. These lectures I 
was invited to give were before audiences of various military installations 
and civic groups, all throughout the nation. In these lectures I shared with 
the audience my knowledge of the Soviet system relfected in my personal 
experience during the Revolution, Civil War and other activities following 
that period of my life. 

These activities rounded out my lifetime struggle against communism. 
To me it is still a tragedy that twice the western democracties lost the 
opportunity to destroy the danger of communism, the first time for not 

- 529 - 

sufficiently supporting the White armies in the Russian Civil War and the 
second time by forcibly sending most of the members of General Vlasov's 
Russian Liberation Army back to the Soviet Union to be tortured, killed or 
sent for long terms at forced labor in the Gulag Archipelago in Siberia. The 
British-American leaders of that era, that is the end of World War II 
and during the period from approximately 1944 to 1947, certainly had a guilty 
conscience about the forcible handing over to the Soviets of almost 2 million 
Russians found in the West, for they kept all materials and documents concerning 
this action as Top Secret. Only 30 years later, through insistence of many 
people and organizations both in Great Britain and the United States, these 
materials were finally made available and published in a book by Nikolai 
Tolstoi under the title, The Secret Betrayal, 1944-1947. When I read this book 
I was shocked that the Western democracies at the end of World War II were 
real collaborators with the leader of communism, Stalin. As far as I am 
concerned, neither in Europe or in the United States I never swerved from my 
position of necessity to achieve the destruction of communism in the Soviet 
Union and seek the rebirth of the historical Russia which will become a true 
ally of the United States and not its dangerous rival. 

Now I would like to tell more about the unique faculty of the DLL 
It should be remembered that at the time I am talking about there were 34 
languages taught at the Institute, and since all the teachers were native 
born, this was a unique group of intellectuals from so many different countries. 
Thatunique position of the DLI could be compared only with the United Nations 
in New York, and here on the Monterey Peninsula we had our little United 
Nations, and that gave usch an interesting color of different cultures mingling 
together and brought into contact people of many cultures, beliefs and 
religions. The commander realized that, and we were encouraged to organize 
some social activities, of which we were very proud. There were so-called 

- 530 - 

international festivals where representatives of various national groups 
appeared in national costumes to show their art, songs and dances and even food 
was served. We had several of these gatherings in so-called international 
festivals and they were a tremendous success. Many people were coming, even 
from the east coast, and Washington, particularly. 

Speaking of the Russian faculty, we had, as I have already mentioned, 
many talented people, like the man, already retired, who organized a Russian 
student choir. This choir was such a success that it was called to appear 
before television and radio and won three Army oscars for choral groups in 
all contests. 

When the then President Eisenhower visited the Peninsula it so happened 
that on the eve of their departure, Mamie Eisenhower happened to be watching 
the TV when the Russian student choir appeared. She was so interested and 
so pleased with the Russian singing that she immediately asked whether she 
could get a tape recording of that singing. We were really in a hurry since 
the President's train or plane was leaving in the morning from Moneterey, 
but during the night we managed to prepare a copy of that recording and before 
the departure of President and Mrs. Eisenhower they were handed a copy of that 

Among the faculty there were talents not only of teaching and related 
activities, but other talents as well. We needed to build a Russian church, 
and believe it or not a Russian church was actually built by members of the 
Russian faculty and their families and, of course, with the help of some hired 
labor, but the onion-shaped cupolas, for the church were built by one of the 
members of the faculty. It was a beautiful, typically Russian wooden church of 
redwood color with blue cupolas. Most of the interior decoration of the church 
in Orthodox tradition and some icons were painted by members of the faculty. 

But unfortunately, the faculty were so good that Washington agencies 

- 531 - 

were very much aware of them, so the best and the brightest were gradually 
lured away by the State department, universities, etc. We couldn't keep them 
here because the conditions of work and salaries that they were offered 
were much better than we could offer here on the periphery. So we lost them; 
however, we still remained a good group and I am happy that some of the members 
of the faculty made brilliant careers in the Voice of America and in the State 
Department. The editors of the magazine AMERIKA are former members of our 
department. The chairmen of the Russian language departments of various East 
Coast universities, such as Georgetown University are former instructors of 
ours, the head of the Voice of America and Radio Liberty program all of them 
are former instructors of ours. I was proud of them, but it was sad for me to 
see these people laving our DLL 

Now I would like to point out one more aspect that I neglected to stress. 
As you will recall from my previous remarks I was involved in teaching from 
the time I came to the Army Language School in 1947 until I returned in 1949 
from Cornell. After that, until my retirement, I myself had no chance to 
teach. I observed the teaching progress in these classrooms and dealt with all 
kinds of personnel, but that was all. I was, of course, involved in counselling 
students, and out of 12,000 students who studied Russian during my period of 
leadership of that department I actually saw only the outstanding ones who 
were destined to get some awards, or the so-called bad boys who would have 
eventually to leave the school. There were some interesting people who were 
studying Russian who became later generals occupying very high and important 
positions in the armed forces like military attaches in Moscow, etc. Some long- 
lasting friendships developed between my family and those people and their 
families and we are still corresponding with some of my former students. 

Actually I resumed teaching only after my retirement. Shortly after my 
retirement I was approached by the University of California at San Diego and 

- 532 - 

offered the position of professor during the summer session and since that time 
I started again to teach, and you don't know what kind of good experience it 
was for me. I felt again in my medium; I was enjoying my teaching; I was 
enjoying the students, and this teaching initially during summer sessions and 
then I was invited also as a part-time professor in the Monterey Institute 
of Foreign Studies, later the Monterey Institute of International Studies, where 
I taught several subjects the social and political stucture of the Soviet 
Union and advanced grammar, idomatic Russian, and other subjects. I am still 
teaching part-time at the Institute of International Studies at Monterey and 
also at the University of California at Irvine. 

At this point I think it would be appropriate to reminisce a little bit 
about new experiences in my private life. Since as I told you I was born in 
Poland where we didn't have our own house because of my father's position he 
was moving from Warsaw to other places and finally Lomzha, where I was born, 
and so we lived in partments. We had an estate, but it was run by relatives 
of my mother. And so the time has come in 1953 when we had to leave Ord Village 
reservation where the families of officers and faculty members were living 
since that reservation was closing so we had either to rent an apartment somewhere 
or to buy a house. And my wife and I decided that the time had come for me to 
buy a house. To me the idea that I was going to finally have our own house for 
our family was incredible, because during the year in Europe it was an 
impossible dream. However, this dream materialized and we managed to buy a 
house in which we lived from 1953 up to the present time. 

Another thing of course was buying a car. Again there were very few 
people among the Russian emigres, I am not talking about Russia. In the places 
where we lived practically no one had a car except for a very few rich people 

- 533 - 

who had drivers and so forth, and during my whole life in megiration practically 
no Russians owned a car. Therefore, it was new, pleasant experience when we 
finally bought a car. 

Now our family lives together on the Monterey Peninsula. My son 
Michael is attorney with one of the local firms, he is married and recently 
bought a house, and we are all very happy here. This concludes the main 
part of the story of my life and I am thankful to God for all the blessings 
He has bestowed upon our family. 

Chapter 78 Scenario XI 

The next chapter will be an epilogue and a change of scenario. 

First I have to say that it was my destiny to travel a lot. If you 
recall I travelled extensively while I was in Belgrade working for the Balkan 
Herald^ and United Press, particularly in the Middle East, the Balkans and Italy. 
Then when I came to the United States and got a job with the Army Language 
School I travelled from Monterey to the East Coast to hire new members of 
the Russian faculty. Then I was going on so-called TDY trips as in connection 
with a Kiwanis village in Korea, in a project which I initiated, and for which 
Kiwanis Clubs in the United States provided the funds. I made two such 
extensive trips while I was director of the Slavic division. 

And then, before my retirement in 1970, I went with my wife on a trip 
to Europe. We visited many countries and attended the Passion Play in 
Overammergau, Germany. I believe I have mentioned already that during that 
time I managed to meet after so many years my first cousin, a former navy 
officer of the Imperial navy who was living in Nice, France. 

Then after my retirement in 1971, in 1972 my wife and I decided to go on 
our own again to visit Europe. We went to many countries, including Istanbul 
in Turkey, and there in Istanbul we took several guided tours, one to see the 

- 534 - 

Palance of the Sultans, all the museums, etc. It was very interesting. For 
me the most interesting part of those guided tours in Istanbul were not the 
visits to the Hippodrome or the Turkish bazaar in Istanbul but a guided tour 
to the shores of the Black Sea. We were having lunch with our guide and 
were discussing what we had seen in the St. Sophia church and then said "This 
is the entrance to the Bosphorus from the Black Sea." 

I stepped out from the restaurant for a better view and saw this 
entrance. Then memories came back to me. I realized that practically my 
whole mature life was connected with the Black Sea shores. First, if you 
recall, it was in Yalta where we enjoyed for a short time everything possible, 
because it was still peacetime and we were enjoying the south Crimea 
immensely. However, it didn't last too long because the so-called guns of 
August in 1914 marked the beginning of World War I. I will never forget 
reading the announcement in the newspaper that a solemn Te Deum would be held 
in the Yalta Cathedral, and I was in that cathedral when after the service 
a proclamation was read about war with Germany. Then, at the beginning of the 
war years, came the realization that we had lost everything in Poland because 
Lomzha, the city from which we went to the Crimea, immediately became a 
battleground of World War I. Then again the Black Sea was tied up in my 
memories of our move to Odessa, where we experienced the Revolution, the seizure 
of power by the Bolsheviks, with its Red Terror, and my departure to join 
the White army and my departure for the front, the return to the Crimea from 
the furthermost point of our offensive near Briansk and then participating in 
an amphibious operation from Kerch to the Caucasus where I was wounded, 
and then in November 1920 leaving Russia forever and going to Istanbul. 
All those thoughts flashed through my mind at the moment when we were haying 
lunch in that restaurant on the Black Sea at the entrance to the Bosphorous 
and I felt kind of nostalgic thinking that I would never see Russia again. 

- 535 - 

Probably at that moment a little seed of desire to return and see the 
country of my forefathers started to grow in my mind. 

Then from Istanbul we went to Yugoslavia. Of course, Yugoslavia 
played an important role in my life; my family lived there, my mother and 
father died there, and I had lived in Belgrade for almost 18 years, so I was 
anxious to see Belgrade. Strangely enough it was my first excursion into the 
so-called 'behind the Iron Curtain countries', and I must say that Yugoslavia 
didn't show its communist face because I felt that there were no such restrictions 
as I had imagined there would be. First of all, we didn't require even a visit 
to enter Yugoslav territory. We landed from a flight from Istanbul. Our 
American passports were enough; they were stamped with a tourist visa for 
60 days, and that was all. What really surprised and impressed me in 
Belgrade was this, that I remember very well that when our last White Army 
commander- in-chief , General Wrangel, died, his body was brought to Yugoslavia 
and was buried in the walls of the Russian church in Belgrade. The wall 
under which his body was buried was voered with a white marble plaque 
with the inscription that General Peter Wrangell, the last commander- in-chief 
of the White armies rested there. When I went to the Russian church I 
immediately looked at that corner where General Wrangell ' s burial place was, 
and I was surprised that it was intact, only the marble plate was covered with 
an icon that completely covered the inscription. A Russian who was at that 
time in the church told me an interesting story. He told me that when Tito's 
troops seized Belgrade in 1944 they immediately rushed to the Russian church 
to destroy the grave of General Wrangell, thinking that that would please 
their bosses, the commanders of the Red Army, but to everybody's surprise the 
Soviet command forbade the Tito troops to touch Wrangel 's body and has grave 
site. They only advised the priest of the church to cover the sign on that 
marble plate. I was very surprised. 

- 536 - 

Then I went to the cemetery where my mother and father were buried, 
and there in that area which was actually part of the cemetery where 
practically all the Russians who died in Yugoslavia during their exile years 
were buried, there was a monument built, of course before the 2nd World War, 
a very tall, high monument with a statue of an angel with a sword on the 
top and the imperial eagle underneath and the words which translate "In the 
memory of Tsar Nicholas III and two million Russian soldiers killed during 
World War I 1914-1918." Well, I never expected that this monument would be 
left there, but the same thing had happened to that monument. The Tito 
troops wanted to destroy it and again they were told by the Soviet command; 
'Do not touch it; it is a Russian monument and should be left intact.' I was 
so surprised that I took a picture of it with all the words, even the 
mention of the Tsar, and the double eagle and the crown. 

I believe that this experience in Belgrade kind of helped me to begin 
thinking that probably I might one day revisit my homeland Russia. To me 
it remains Russia, not the Soviet Union, which is actually the communist 
conspiracy based on the territory of Russia. 

Well, two more years passed since that visit and my wife Tekla was 
also anxious to see the former Russian Empire. We discussed it many times 
and three years after my retirement I decided to visit the Soviet Union. Of 
course, I had to take certain precautions. And here I am going to tell the 
story of the last chapter of the epilogue of this account. 

Every American has two heritages, and at a certain age we in America 

develop the urge to visit the lands of our ancestors. It is probably some 

kind of salmon syndrome, as I call it. So Americans visit the lands of their 

ancestors in the Scandinavian countries, Great Britian, Ireland, Germany, 

- 537 - 

France, etc. without any difficulties. Americans of Russian descent, however, 
have that chance for almost half a century because of the tightly closed 
Iron Curtain. Only within the past two decades did travel to the Soviet Union 
become possible and many Americans are visiting now that never-never-land 
which Churchill described as 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma'. 
In general, the Soviets like American tourists because they bring dollars. 
However, we the so-called White Russian Americans are definitely not among 
those whom the Soviets are particularly anxious to see because they consider 
us White Guard bandits and enemies of the people. I can well imagine what 
kind of commotion my visa application produced in the KGB in 1974. They 
knew everything about me and they knew that I knew that they knew it. It took 
the Soviet authorities more than two months to decide whether to grant us a 
visa or not, but the good American dollar triumphed, and the visa was granted 
(two days before our departure time, when we were ready to unpack). 

I travelled with my wife, who is a native born Pennsylvania girl, on 
the so-called deluxe program and we had to pay everything in advance hotels 
and so forth. I spent over $65 on phone calls made by my travel agent to 
the Soviet Intourist agency in New York trying to get approval to my itinerary. 
I wanted to visit places where I spent my youth, to see the school in which I 
studied. For a long time the Soviets for some reason didn't want us to go to 
Yalta, in the Crimea, offering instead Sochi, in the Caucasus. Finally, after 
several telephone exchanges I told my travel agent, "If they won't let me go 
to Yalta I'll cancel my trip and request return of my dollars," whereupon 
they said Yalta - da. 

And something happened also when we requested to travel a portion of 
our trip within the Soviet Union by train. They insisted we go from Moscow 
to Leningrad by night train. I said we wanted to go by daylight train because 
my wife and I wanted to see the landscape. Same story. Again, I threatened 

- 538 - 

to cancel the trip and get back my dollars and again the dollar prevailed and 
we got the approval. 

Before our departure I took certain precautionary measures. First, 
there was the timing of our trip. My wife and I went to the Soviet Union 
just before the planned visit there by former President Nixon. I knew it would 
be the safest time for me to go there since the KGB wouldn't date to create 
an incident with an American tourist at that time. Secondly, I called a good 
friend at the State Department, who was for three years first secretary of 
our embassy in Moscow, and personal interpreter in the past for our three past 
presidents in their conversations with Soviet bosses, including Khrushchev and 
Brezhnev. This man some time ago was a member of my family. He told me over 
the phone that if in my case the Soviets granted me a visa in spite of my 
past they wouldn't touch me, but he strongly advised me upon arrival in Moscow 
to go to our embassy and leave there a detailed itinerary and be on the alert 
for provocations involving selling dollars on the black market, or buying 
icons or antique objects outside the special Intourist stores. 

My friend in Washington also advised that we travel on the deluxe plan 
which he felt would be better than with a large group of tourists. 

We flew to Moscow from New York by Pan-Am, making a short stop at 
Amsterdam. When the pilot announced that we were descending at Moscow, at 
Sheremetevo International Airport, my heart started to beat faster. I was 
about to revisit the homeland of my ancestors which I had left 54 years before. 

When we were stepping down from the plane I noticed a man in a dark 
suit watching closely the disembarking passengers and looking closely at a 
piece of paper he held in his hand. As soon as Tekla and I appeared on the 
steps he shouted in England: "Mr. and Mrs. Albov?" He told us to follow him 
to the air terminal, separating us from the rest of the passengers. My 
heart sank. Was I already in the KGB's clutches? But the man was polite, he 

- 539 - 

said he just wanted to help us pass faster through passport control and 
customs. When we reached a desk manned by a sergeant of border troops, which 
are under the KGB, the young sergeant looked at my passport then at me several 
times shaking his head. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to 
break the impasse by addressing him in my fluent Russian. "Is there any 
problem, Sergeant, with my passport?" When the man heard me talking Russian 
he almost jumped. 

"You speak Russian?" 

"Yes, I do." 

"Then there is no problem." He hurriedly stamped my and Tekla's passport 
and let us pass, smiling at us. So the trick worked. I repeated it again 
passing through the customs. Again a surprise and fast action. Our suitcases 
were not even opened. 

Chapter 78 Scenario XII 

I ended that story with a strange thing that happened to my suitcase 
upon arrival in Moscow. Passenger luggage was coming from the plane in small 
carriages, and after all suitcases were brought from the plane I realized that 
my suitcase wasn't there. I started to ask questions and got some stupid 
answer that probably it was not put on the plane in New York. I told them in 
Russian that this was nonsense since my wife's suitcase was there. After 
waiting a half an hour finally the man who handled luggage said, "Oh, they 
are bringing four more suitcases from the plane." One of them was mine. In 
all of the excitement of the arrival in Moscow I didn't think much of this, 
but later I learned from knowledgeable people that luggage of so-called special 
visitors is screened before it is ready for customs. 

Upon our arrival in Moscow the Intourist the KGB tried to impress us 
with their facilities and comfort. We were driven from the airport to the 

- 540 - 

Hotel Metropol, opposite the Kremlin, in a big black limousine with Persian 
carpeting on the floor, folding chairs in the front, and separated with glass 
from the compartment with chauffeur and guide. The deluxe plan entitled us 
to a limousine and guide for three hours every day of our stay in the 
Soviet Union. 

The guides were girls speaking excellent British English, well 
educated and knowledgeable, but as I learned also they were members of the KGB 
secret police. The most interesting thing to me was that they were showing 
us in the Soviet Union not the achievements of Bolshevik rule but the remnants 
of the past glory of Imperial Russia. They were impressed by my knowledge 
of Russian and when I told them that I was for 25 years professor ofRussian 
in the United States they thanked me for teaching Russian to Americans. 

In the hotel, after checking with the so-called dragon lady whose 
functions on each floor I will explain later, they brought us to our room, 
which happened to be a five-room suite consisting of a hallway, sitting room, 
living room -dining room, bedroom, and bathroom, all furnished in classical 
French style, with beautiful china, crystal chandeliers, gold framed original 
old paintings, piano, etc. In the bedroom, instead of wallpaper, the walls 
were covered with pleated silk brocade. This luxury we enjoyed for only one 
night since next morning we left for Odessa and other places where the suites 
were much more modest, usually a sitting room and bedroom with bath only. 
Later on I learned that these special luxurious suites like we had the first 
night in the Metropol were saturated with microphones and even infra red 
television cameras hidden, of course, from our eyes and every word and every 
whisper and every movement was recorded because I understand we were in the 
eye of the KGB very interesting special visitors. 

Now I would like to explain the function of the dragon ladies, so-called, 
on each floor of the Soviet hotels for Intourist. You do not get the key to 

- 541 - 

your room at the desk at the downstairs entrance, but you must instead go to 
the floor on which your room is located and there get the key from the lady who 
sits at the desk opposite the staircase and elevators, She had a big book 
in which she entered the date and time, whenever one of the tourists came in 
or left again. This strange procedure really looked funny to us. 

Upon settling in that luxurious suite at the Metropol Hotel we 
immediately requested that we be driven to the American Embassy. Although it 
was Saturday afternoon I managed to get in touch with one of the consular 
employees and told him that I had been advised to call there. We then returned 
to the Hotel and had dinner in the huge dining room where we listened to very 
loud music and some beautiful voices singing sometimes familiar old Russian 

Then we returned to our suite and early the next morning we left for 
Odessa and then to Ximf eropol , and finally by car all the way to Yalta. 

In Yalta we stayed in an old hotel which I knew from the long past, 
and I had a nostalgic feeling when one day Tekla and I attended vespers in 
the Yalta cathedral. It brought to my memory the day in 1914 when I was in 
that cathedral listening to the proclamation of World War I. 

You will probably ask what was the most striking impression of our 
visit to Russia. The first one was that we observed a desire of our guides to 
isolate us foreign visitors from any contact with the Russian people. We were 
forced to deal only with the agents of Intourist, change our money in Intourist 
offices, be driven around to the showplaces also by Intourist guides and what 
was most interesting we had never to wait in line with other people to go to 
theaters, museums, exhibitions, palaces, galleries, etc, or churches. Our 
Intourist guides always took us ahead of everybody waiting in line to enter 
these places. At the airports through which we travelled we were always invited 
to wait for the flights in separate VIP lounges, taken to the plane ahead of 

- 542 - 

all the other passengers, seated in specially reserved seats, and so forth. 
The most incredible thing happened to us when we were taken from our 
hotel to the railroad station in Moscow to go by daylight train to Leningrad. 
What could be simpler to go from the Hotel Metropol to the so-called Leningrad 
Station. It is all located within the center of the city. However, instead 
of taking us directly to the main Moscow railroad station for the Leningrad 
train the driver took us in his car through some little narrow street to an 
unpaved alley running between the back wall of a highrise building on the 
one side and a high wooden fence on the other. Several times I asked the 
driver where he was taking us, and he always answered, "Don't worry, I am 
taking you to your train." Finally, after a very bumpy ride we stopped and 
to our amazement we saw that there was a portion of that fence removed, and 
through the opening we saw not the railroad station but platforms and trains. 
At that opening three men were waiting for us, a uniformed militiaman, an 
Intourist guide and a porter. The militiman saluted us and the Intourist 
guide asked us to follow him. So we moved in a procession headed by the 
militiaman and the guide and behind us the porter with our luggage. They helped 
us into our car and within three minutes the train moved. The last thing I 
saw was the militiaman standing at attention and saluting a departing white 
guardist or enemy of the people. Before we moved I managed to give this 
militiaman a package of cigarettes. It was an incredible thing and I was 
thinking what kind of coordination had to be worked out to send my wife and me 
from the Hotel Metropol to the train to Leningrad. Everything had to be co 
ordinated to the minute, arrival at the place with the broken fence so that we 
would not be going through the railroad station but direct to the train, etc. 

Later, dissidents who had recently come to the United States from the 

strange experience 
Soviet Union explained to me the reason behind this% They told me that during 

the daylight hours the railroad stations are crowded by poorly dressed masses 

- 543 - 

of people, some with sacks, who come to Moscow from the provinces to buy in 
Moscow lots of things, including foodstuffs, unavailable in the provinces. 
The Soviet leaders didn't want us to see that big, unruly crowd at the 
station, and rather went to a very complicated procedure to put us on our train 
bypassing the station. 

Now, what is the most striking thing in the USSR? I would say the 
poor service in the restaurants, stores, everywhere. The reason for this is 
the fact that everybody is a government employee. Waiters, and store personnel 
couldn't care less about their clients since they are getting their monthly 
salary whether there are customers or not. I think more often than not 
they consider the customers a nuisance and treated them accordingly. In the 
best restaurants of the Soviet Union we had to wait almost hours to get our 
food served. Sometimes the food was excellent, but those were rare occasions. 
Most of the time it was not of the best quality. The most incredible waste 
of man hours could be observed in the stores. You had to stay in one long 
line to select an item you wanted to buy. The sales clerk quotes you the 
price and then you stand in a much longer line to the cashier where you quote 
the price and pay money. Then with a stamped receipt you return to the first 
line and wait for your turn to get the item you bought. 

And there is a shortage of paper in the Soviet Union. You have to 
carry such things as bread, oranges, and other food items either in your hands, 
or in a newspaper, or in your pockets if you forgot to bring a newspaper. 
Soviet citizens all carry little bags for that purpose. 

Another interesting incident occurred at the famous GUM, that is, a 
large department store which sells everything possible from food to furniture. 
This GUM* stands for Gosudarstvennyi universal'nyi magazine, or Univermag, a 
strange thing happened to us. I wanted to bring Soviet cigarettes back to the 
United States. So I went to a stand where cigarettes are sold, but couldn't 

- 544 - 

figure out which were the best brand. There was a man standing near that stand; 
he looked like Khrushchev, with ribbons and deocrations on his civilian 
clothing, and looked at me with some kind of suspicion because he realized that 
I was a foreigner. 

Addressing him in my fluent Russian I asked, "Will you tell me, please, 
which of these cigarettes are the best cigarettes?" 

He looked at me and told me, "All Soviet cigarettes are the best 

I was absolutely stunned by that stupid answer, but apparently it followed 
the party line when talking to a foreigner, so I just started looking at the 
packages of the cigarettes, which were very colorful and selected several 
packages of them myself . 

As for human relations involving Soviet citizens, I had a strange, sad 
experience with our guide in Leningrad, who was called Natasha. Natasha was 
our guide throughout our stay in Leningrad. I was very much impressed by her 
excellent English and her knowledge. I was particularly impressed by her 
explanation of the masterpieces collected at the Hermitage in Leningrad. When 
we were returning home she was tired, because she had to be with us not a 
half day as a guide but a whole day, because we had to be compensated for the 
day when we were travelling to Leningrad from Moscow, so she had a double tour 
of duty. It was a beautiful day so we decided to walk the short distance to 
our hotel instead of driving in a limousine. 

By the way, when we were in Moscow, we were travelling in the so-called 
"Chaika" or "Seagull" limousine, usually at the disposal of high government 
and party officials. Therefore, when this Chaika limousine was coming to an 
intersection, if there was a militiaman at the intersection, irrespective of 
the light, whether green or red, he would stop the cross traffic and let our 
Chaika go through even a red light because they learn to resppct the people who 
travel there. 

- 545 - 

Now back to the story of Natasha. As I said, she was a very charming 
young girl, very knowledgeable, and coming back she started to ask varous 
questions. Among those she asked about, of all things, was the book by 
Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago, and the movie made from it and she asked whether 
we had read the book or saw the film. "Oh, we bought it," Tekla and I replied, 
"and we were very much impressed by that story." 

She said, "Well, it's too bad that I haven't had a chance to read it." 

"Why?" I asked. "You are such a knowledgeable girl, why couldn't 
you read this book, you know you show such spirit, such a knowledge about the 
geniuses of the past, when describing to us the masterpieces of the 

Here she stopped me. "Please, don't talk to me about geniuses." 

"Why?" I asked. 

"Oh," she said, "in my opinion, genius is something not natural, it is 
something like a calf born with two heads." 

I was stunned. "Natasha," I said, "you, an intelligent girl, with such 
a knowledge, with such good cultural emotions and so forth, you could compare 
the geniuses like Michaelangelo, Beethoven, or Pushkin, or Mossorgski, with a 
two-headed monster calf?" 

"Oh, please," she said, "don't talk to me about any kind of spiritual 

I said, "I am not going to talk to you about spiritual things." 

"Don't talk to me also about religion," she said. 

I said, "I didn't intend to talk to you about religion." 

"Also don't speak of rituals." 

I said, "Listen, in your society you have more rituals than any other 
all these processions, these banners and slogans put everywhere on all the 
buildings, those are the rituals here." 

- 546 - 

Then she said, "Oh, I am sorry, I shouldn't have talked like that!" 
By then we had arrived at the entrance to our hotel in Leningrad, the 
Hotel Astoria. I looked at her and saw that she was sad and almost in tears; 
and then she came and shook my hand and said, "Thank you for this interesting 
conversation, because from this point on I think it will be easier for me to 

I was impressed and pleased with that answer. However, the next morning 
we were supposed to be picked up by her at 9:30 in the morning. We descended 
to the hotel lobby and were waiting for Natasha. Then she came, about 20 
minutes late. When I saw her, I said, "Natasha, how are you, it is so nice to 
see you." 

Chapter 78 Scenario XII 

Looking at Natasha I was shocked by her facial expression. She was pale 
and looked cold and grim. Instead of answering my cheerful greeting, she 
said, "I am sorry that I am late, but yesterday I was very tired spending the 
whole day with you and your wife, and you exploited my tiredness and tried to 
convert me to your capitalist ideology, which I res/rtit. Tell me where you 
want to go, and I will take you." 

I was shocked. I said, "Natasha, what's the matter with you? We had 
a wonderful time with you yesterday!" 

She didn't smile; she looked very stern and simply said, "I have to 
perform my duties as your guide and you simply tell jne where you want me to take 

I still was shocked by this dramatic change in Natasha's attitude. I 
tried to figure out what had happened to her since we saw her the day before 
in the evening. Later I learned what probably had changed her mood. The matter 
of fact is that all these charming girls, the Intourist guides, are also 

- 547 - 

members of the KGB apparatus, and at the end of the day they have to present 
the KGB with a detailed oral and written report about all the conversations 
carried out by foreigners among themselves and with the guides. The KGB 
requires from the guides minute details of the conversations. For the guides 
these oral and written reports could be compared with church confessions. 
Moreover, the guides realize that some secret agents of the KGB might, under 
the guise of being foreign tourists, check on the Intourist guides themselves, 
so I imagine that late at night when, after being with us the whole day, 
Natasha, in preparing her report to her KGB bosses, suddenly became aware that 
in her "confession" she had better report also about her statements made to 
us before we parted. And certainly was seriously warned by the KGB to be more 
careful and discreet in showing her emotions before the dirty capitalists. 
This explains the reference by Natasha to our capitalist tricks when we met her 
next morning. 

This episode of Natasha saddened us and it spoiled our last day in 
Leningrad because she never volunteered any information and refused to initiate 
visits to any point of interest, saying merely that she was at our disposal to 
take us anywhere that we would like to go. So I had to serach my memory what 
I wanted to see, and remembering the past history among other things I requested 
that she take us to the room in the Winter Palace where the members of the 
Provisional Government were arrested by the Bolsheviks during the October 
Revolution. Then I asked her to take us to see the cruiser Aurora , and also 
to the palace of the ballerina Kseshinskaia who before the Tsar Nicholas II 
married was one of his good friends. By historical irony this palace of 
the ballerina Kseshinskaia became the first building in Petrograd taken by 
Lenin after his seizure of power and before he moved to the famous Smolnyi 

Institute. Long after that experience with Natasha I shuddered at the 

thought of the Bolshevik regime could do with the psyche of a human being. 

- 549 - 

and more impressive than the Louvre in Paris, its gold chamber where there is 
a dazzling display of gold objects dating back to the 6th century BC and the 
Scythian artifacts. We visited also what is presently now called Petrodvoretsk, 
the suburban residence of the Tsars, beginning with Peter the Great in the 
18th century. Credit must be given to the Soviet government for an 
outstanding work done in restoration of the monuments of the old Russian 
architectural treasures ruined during World War II. 

What was really exceptionally good in Russia was the opera, ballet 
concerts and other performances in the theaters and concert halls. We saw an 
opera in Odessa, a beautiful performance of Swan Lake by the Bolshoi-Theater 
in Moscow and a very colorful performance of Siberian dances and song ensemble 
in Kiev. 

After that concert we had a unique chance to have a glimpse into 
capitalist tendencies among Soviet citizens. We came from that Kiev theater 
before the end of the concert in order to get a taxi. We were waiting in vain, 
taxi drivers didn't pay any attention to our hand signals and just buzzed 
past us. Suddenly a big black limousine stopped and the driver came out, 
apparently waiting for a Soviet big shot, some kind of commissar, to take him 
home from the concert. He looked at his watch, then looked at us, recognizing 
immediately that we were foreigners, and came up to us asking in Russian 
whether we spoke Russian. 

I said, "I do." 

"I have a few minutes yet to wait," he said, "you give me a ruble and 
I will take you to your hotel," 

I was happy to give him even more than one ruble. He promptly removed 
from the back seat an attache case of his boss and we jumped into the car 
and he zoomed to the hotel at a speed of probably 70 miles an hour. Tekla 
closed her eyes, and I gave 1 1/2 rubles to this only representative of free 
enterprise that we met in the Soviet Union. 

- 550 - 

We left Russia after 18 days there and flew to Warsaw. I wanted to 
see Warsaw, where my father was born, where my grandfather lived a long time 
ago, which I had visited with my grandmother several times before World War I, 
I wanted also to visit the littel village of Gzhanka, near the city of Mako 
where we had a summer cottage where I was born. We managed to visit these 
places, although it was hard for me to recognize my birthplace. World War I 
and II had rolled back and forth through those places, and no traces of 
early construction were left. However, I recognized the little river 
Orzhets, in which I learned how to swim. It was a nostalgic experience. In 
general we arrived in Poland with a sense of relief because I was no longer 
in the shadow of the KGB. At the same time I had a feeling of having 
fulfilled my dream of seeing Russia after 54 years since I had left her. 

After Poland we flew to Madrid, stayed there for several days, saw 
some friends of ours there, and then returned home to the United States. It 
was an unforgettable experience, but I was happy when the plane touched down 
at the Kennedy airport in New York. 

This is the end of the epilogue of the story of my life.